Focusing on the customer is here to stay, because it’s good for business. But the problem with the customer-centric approaches most companies take is that they don’t translate into actionable steps. Sure, you can write about being customer centric on your website, preach it to your staff and include it in your core values. That doesn’t make your company customer centric.
So, are you putting your customer-centric ideals into practice?
You can start to answer that by identifying whether your company is consistently focusing on the customer. Below are indications that might not be the case.
Your Customer-Centric Business Model Could Be Stronger If…
1. You’re constantly reaching out to “just follow up.”
Do you find yourself, or your team, calling and emailing customers (or future customers) for the sole purpose of following up? Please stop. If someone hasn’t responded to your last email, it means that what you sent wasn’t relevant or a priority for them. Reaching out to just follow up both wastes time and (likely) irritates the person on the other end of that message.
Instead, try providing some sort of value alongside each communication. That could be an educational article related to a customer’s industry, a new idea for their business, or even a comment on recent news you know that person follows.
Emailing for the sake of following up makes it seem like you care more about what they can do for you than what you can do for them. A customer-centric business model ensures the latter.
2. Not everyone in your organization understands your buyer persona.
If marketing team members don’t understand your buyer persona, they’re going to bring in the wrong prospects. If sales reps don’t understand it, they’ll probably sell the wrong solution or close a customer who isn’t a good fit. But what about operations and executives? Do they really need to understand buyer personas as well as your customer-facing roles do?
Absolutely. One goal of a customer-centric business model is for everyone to understand your buyer personas evenly. Service reps need to understand your buyer personas so they can help customers achieve their business goals. Executives definitely require an understanding of your customers as they drive the business philosophy and vision. Even your operations teams should be customer centric, so they can analyze what effect your internal processes have on customers.
3. You have a high customer churn rate.
This one is obvious. Not having a customer-centric business model is the fastest way to obliterate your customer retention. If your level of commitment to solving business problems for your prospects suddenly drops when they become customers, you’re putting your business at risk. According to TechCrunch, 82% of customers said they stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer experience. And Zendesk research shows that more than half of B2B companies will avoid a vendor for 2 or more years after a bad customer experience.
How does a customer-centric business model change this?
You treat your customers like partners. You recognize the fact that without them, your business wouldn’t be able to run. In return, customers stay along for the ride. They appreciate the value you bring to their business and want to see what you’ll come up with next. They’ll also send more referrals. Almost 70 percent of customers recommend a company after a positive customer experience, according to NewVoiceMedia.
4. Your customer data is spread across disparate systems.
When critical data about your customers is stored across multiple databases, you don’t have a complete view of your customer. This causes myriad problems. Sales reps could accidentally pitch prospects a product or service that’s completely unrelated to their business because the reps don’t have data from marketing. A customer service rep might try to upsell a customer on products that a sales rep’s notes show the customer doesn’t want or need. Not to mention that you can’t generate accurate reports around your customer lifecycle.
A strong customer-centric business model relies on a single source of truth for all customer data. A customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Salesforce, gives you a 360-degree of the customer. With CRM, you can connect your marketing, sales, service and operations all within a single database. This creates more visibility into your customers and organizational alignment around them, which is critical for the modern business.
If you identify with any of the examples above, you might want to create a more actionable customer-centric business model. But don’t panic! We’re here to help. Stay tuned to our blog to learn how to truly focus on your customers. Or check out this free ebook: