One of our clients had a simple mantra: “We want to be easy to do business with.” While it may not feel like a big, innovative idea, it is a driving force for most customers. If they can’t find a product, purchase it easily, and see transparency in shipping information, why would they do business with you?
Putting your customer at the center of your business strategy is important. To step into a customer-centric strategy, you’ll need to build a clear plan of action. You’re planning your digital future.
How to create a customer-centric strategy for your business
Customer-centric strategy always begins with a solid understanding of your customer and their needs. Remember: Your customers drive your revenue — which means your success depends on meeting your customers’ needs.
You can get to know your customer better by reviewing your data and analytics, as well as gathering customer feedback through surveys or one-on-one conversations. We covered more about the planning stage and how to get to know your customer better in a recent post.
Step 1: Create a plan of action.
To know where you are going and measure your progress, you have to have a goal. What are your business goals?
Define four to six key performance indicators (KPIs) that showcase your business objectives, perhaps two that are external and two that are internal. Here’s an example:
- Internal KPI1: Boost efficiency
- Internal KPI2: Lower rate of resignations
- External KPI1: Increase sales
- External KPI2: Increase brand recognition and market share
Step 2: Understand the competitive landscape.
With your KPIs acting as your North Star, go ahead and shop around. Take a look at what your competitors are doing. After all, according to our 2022 B2B Buyer Report, 85% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if your digital channel isn’t keeping up.
Start to brainstorm: Why is your product or customer experience better? Why is it different? Why would a customer buy from your company instead of another one?
Analytics play a big role in providing insights. Where do you rank in search listings? What does your digital footprint look like compared to your competitors? Are they churning out content daily? Could you create and produce better pieces?
Step 3: Use insights for educated brainstorming.
Armed with all the data insights and the voice of the customer, it’s time to develop differentiated messaging and figure out which capabilities will improve your digital user experience. Your specific KPIs will serve as your measure of customer-centricity.
Think about why a customer would come to you, where the gaps are in what you are offering, and how closing those gaps would allow you to realize your KPIs. If it doesn’t affect a KPI, take it off the table.
Creating a plan that is supported by data, insights, and measurable KPIs will encourage buy-in from teams across the organization and help you gain alignment before moving into implementation.
What does a customer-centric organizational structure look like?
Within your organization, each team has unique insights into your customer, their needs and expectations, and their buying journey. To build a well-rounded perspective of your customer and understand how you can improve their user experience, you’ll need to involve teams across the organization.
Customer journey mapping is a great tool for digging deeper. Journey mapping builds a visual story of your customer as they move through the buying experience. It shows how they interact with your brand and your teams, and it highlights any pain points along the way.
To get started, gather people from different departments to collaborate and brainstorm. Our latest white paper includes a worksheet to guide you through the process. This simple exercise can help you get to the heart of your customer needs and start to prioritize new initiatives to better fulfill those needs and drive customer-centric innovation.
On an ongoing basis, a customer-centric organization will maintain a culture focused on long-term customer satisfaction. It continues to listen to its customers, keeping a finger on the pulse of their evolving expectations and needs, and responds accordingly.
From company leaders all the way down to each employee, everyone has to have the mindset that people come before products, profits, and metrics.
As the digital landscape and external market factors change, it is important to maintain ongoing communication and collaboration within the organization — always keeping the customer at the center of strategic decisions.
How can B2B marketers stay customer-centric?
A customer-centric marketing strategy has to be rooted in understanding your customer and optimizing their buying experience to meet their needs.
As the results of our 2022 Buyer Report show, customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Customers can be swayed by convenience and efficiency. Gaining (and keeping) a customer now requires a cohesive user experience with relevant, personalized information and easy-to-use features.
In each stage of the customer journey — awareness, consideration, nurture, convert/purchase, and advocacy — consider:
- Opportunities: What new initiative would make a positive impact on the customer? On your business?
- Capabilities: What capabilities (people, processes, technology) would help enable the customer journey at this point?
- Gaps: What are the organizational, financial or technological barriers that will keep the business from realizing the impact of these capabilities?
To stay customer-centric, keep listening to your customers. Brainstorm ways to improve the digital user experience. Re-evaluate your KPIs if you need to. These are the keys to building long-term customer relationships that ultimately drive business growth.
In this age of continuous evolution, it’s not about the destination — it’s the journey. And with customer-centric digital transformation, there is always somewhere new to go.
Ready to put your customer at the center of your digital strategy? Contact a digital transformation team member, or download our “How To Prioritize Customer-Centric Digital Transformation” white paper.