Being customer-centric (or client-centric) is a bit of a buzzword. In essence, it’s a way of describing a business that sees its customers, or clients, as its most important asset. Businesses who focus on their customers’ needs first and foremost tend to have a more loyal customer base. And that means they’ll hang around for longer.

Although it might sound fairly straightforward, being successfully customer-centric isn’t the easiest of tasks. There are a few things to consider if you want to make your business more customer-centric. We’ll take a look at the strategies you can put in place to boost your customer retention and, hopefully, save yourself some money over time.

Stay tuned to find out the answers to these questions:

What does it mean to be customer-centric?

At its core, being customer-centric means focusing your business strategy and culture on creating the best customer experience. Your customer is at the centre of your universe and their preferences will impact the operations and goods or services you offer. The logic behind it is that your customer is the main reason your business exists, so you want to do everything to keep them on board.

Why does being customer-centric matter?

A customer-centric approach makes a lot of financial sense. Maintaining an existing customer base is less expensive than the costs of acquiring new customers. In fact, research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric businesses were 60% more profitable than businesses that weren’t.

New customers aren’t easy to find. What’s more, it’s expensive to go looking for them. That might be through promotions, discounts or running expensive marketing campaigns. Spending a big portion of your budget on finding new customers means you’re focussing a lot of energy onr a group that probably won’t be loyal. And unless your product or service is truly one-of-a-kind, your customers will be comparing you against your competitors.

The theory for a customer-centric business flips this. If you look after your existing customers really well, they’ll spend more of their money with your company, rather than keep an eye out for competitors. This can mean you’re in less of a price war with other businesses, because your customer service and appreciation means more to those customers. And it pays. According to research by Bain & Company, businesses that can improve their customer retention rates by 5% increase profits by 25% to 95%.

How can you be more customer-centric?

The universal point in every customer-centric strategy is satisfying the customer’s needs. Here are seven strategies to consider:

  1. Data is key – Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is crucial in keeping your existing customers loyal. The data you can collect from your customers, such as preferences, previous orders and even their birthday can help improve customer satisfaction. You can use this data to go beyond simply putting out fires or addressing concerns your customers bring up. It allows you to be more proactive so you can create positive experiences, recommend other products or services and spot problems early on. Sephora, for example, will send out emails to a customer when they predict they might want to repurchase an item.

  2. Build a community – Use your digital channels and loyalty schemes wisely. Social media marketing has changed the way your business can interact with your customers. Encouraging customers to share their experiences, purchases and highlights on social platforms can create a real sense of community. You could introduce different “tiers” depending on how much a customer spends with your business. The most regular customers would get a cash or exclusivity incentive that could keep them onboard for longer.

  3. Hire for customer success – Your customer-facing teams will define the experiences your customers have with your business. Make sure that when you’re hiring for these roles, successfully applicants understand the importance of customer-centric thinking. Their interactions and the service they provide is an important part of the puzzle. Superior customer service is a common strategy for customer-centric companies, so make sure your team is so well-trained that a customer can’t imagine buying from or working with anyone else.

  4. Create an ecosystem around your product or service – Think of a company like Apple. They created smartphones, computers and even watches that have a whole host of features and apps. It’s this seamless integration that keeps users loyal for life. What other products or services could you offer to complement and expand your offering in a way that truly benefits your customers?

  5. Strive for a frictionless experience – Customers stick around if something is convenient and works for them. At MarketFinance, we’re always striving to make finance frictionless. That means solving the cash flow issues that get in the way of progress through our smart online platform at speed. It also means having the people and answers on hand to help our customers when they need it. Could you digitise some of your customer experience so that answers can be found through self-service options? For example, a list of FAQs or a chat bot. This means they can access help at any time and from anywhere, without having to rely on your working hours.

  6. Connect company culture to customer outcomes – Linking your team’s actions to tangible results helps to motivate them. So customer-centric strategies like reducing wait times can be highlighted and reported on when they’re introduced. This will show you which strategies are successful and help your team feel they’re making a difference.

  7. Give your team an incentive – How do you reward performance? Can you set targets for bonuses, benefits or pay rises for individuals or teams based on the company’s Net Promoter Scores (NPS)? This is a useful metric for many companies to find out how valued they are by their customers. You can ask your customers a simple question, such as “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend this product (or service) to a friend?”

Focus on what your customers actually want

Customer-centricity starts by focusing on what customers need (whether they know it or not) and how they want to interact with your business. Your products and its features, or your service, need to be great to attract them in the first place. But if you want to focus on keeping your customers on board, then you need to invest in putting them at the core of your business.

Maintaining a customer base and increasing loyalty is a great way to drive your profits. Hiring dedicated staff to make sure customers are well looked after or improving your self-service points on your website is worth spending on. If you’re looking at ways to fund these strategies then a flex loan is a fast and flexible way to get the funds you need, when you need them.