The phrase ‘customer-centric’ has been around for a while, but it’s not in common usage. From the words themselves, you can probably grasp that a business that is customer-centric is one that is centered around the customer – just as our heliocentric solar system is one that revolves around the Sun. In fact, a customer-centric business can easily be thought of as an eager planet revolving around a customer in the position of the Sun.
Customer-centric: Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale. A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience. Definition via Business Dictionary
The customer-centric business creates goals according to the goals of the customer. They strategize around what their customers want and need.
This is not to say that customer-centric businesses aren’t seeking profits – in fact, customer-centric businesses may bring in more profit than their counterparts. After all, a business that is dedicated to serving and satisfying its customers is certain to earn more loyal customers and repeat business than a business that ignores customers or leaves its customers wanting more.
What’s different about a customer-centric business?
A customer-centric business may not operate all that differently from other businesses; they’re stilling selling something to customers and keeping up with the day-to-day of doing business in the meantime. What’s different is the underlying philosophy or core values that drive the business and employees.
Some company cultures emphasize the customer and others demonize the customer. Have you ever worked in a place where management and employees alike gathered to gossip about customers or openly spoke about hating their jobs? If so, you’ve seen the opposite of a customer-centric business in action. You want your company culture to emphasize the customer, and the best way to do that is by being clear and upfront about it.
Making your company more customer-centric
If your company hasn’t been customer-centric up to this point, it’s not too late to make changes. Making your company culture more customer-centric starts with your own actions and examples. By modeling the behaviors and attitudes you’d like to see your team adopt, you encourage them to take the step in the right direction.
By including clear statements about the importance of the customer’s satisfaction and treatment in training materials and employee handbooks, you further strengthen the message and have a better chance of getting the new cultural values to take hold in your company.
A customer-centric business is arguably the best model for any business to adopt – whether you’re a sole proprietor just starting up or a seasoned small business owner with a growing group of employees, putting the customer first will help you increase revenue, strengthen the company culture, and earn more loyal customers.