That smokey, fresh-off-the-grill scent fills the air as the blade of your knife rips back and forth through the tenderness of a thick, juicy ribeye steak. The hunk of meat separates revealing a light pink center soaked with a deep reddish-brown juice pooling beneath the clean cut. The smell of a perfect mix of salty seasonings tickles your nose as your fork raises up a perfectly bite sized piece... Hungry yet?
Dealing with customers may not be as appetizing as a perfectly grilled steak, but interacting with them in a way that keeps them happy is just as rewarding as that impeccable first bite after all your time and hard work. Creating a customer centric culture is one surefire way to nearly guarantee customers that exceptional experience every time.
|Hold the A1... What’s a customer centric culture? - A customer centric culture shifts priorities to place customer success ahead of a business’ short-term goals. A business that is truly customer centric is customer focused and motivated to create the best atmosphere by driving decisions based on customer needs and interests.1|
Why is Being Customer Centric Important?
If you slap a steak on the grill straight out of the freezer, no seasoning, no prep work, or anything and just walk away, it will likely end up burnt, dry, and flavorless just like your customer’s experience when they don’t feel supported. Providing customers with positive experience is what gives you that strong, loyal customer base that can make or break a business. That’s the idea behind a customer centric culture – focus on the customer to provide them the best experience you can offer.
It’s a strategy that’s proven to work. Companies with a customer centric culture are 60% more profitable than those that don’t.2 These companies create an atmosphere that makes customers feel welcome and happy and that feeling fosters a positive experience. Would you go back to a restaurant that served you a crusty, burnt slice of meat over one that dished up a tender, juicy steak? Customers choose companies that are customer centric for the same reason – positive customer experience.
How Can You Create a Customer Centric Culture?
What’s your trick to get that steak prepared properly? Everyone has a different mix of seasonings or cooking methods to meet their own unique tastes, but the same basic strategies to figure out what works best for them. Creating a customer centric culture works the same way. There’s no right or wrong way. You can choose from a mix of tools, methods and strategies to get you there. Here are a few ways you can build your customer centric culture:
1. Prioritize Customer Relationships
Put your customer first – an obvious first step in building a customer centric culture, but what does that mean? Below are a few ways that you can take that first step.
- Maintain customer satisfaction by providing results along with fast response times. Show them you care by being there for them when they need it.
- Higher satisfaction leads to improved retention rates and customer loyalty. If customers are happy, they will stick around.
- Align your values with your customers’. What does your customer view as important in terms of service? If you can show them that you care about the same things, they will feel more strongly tied to your company.
- Personalize each customer’s experience. That in-person one-on-one meeting in the field may be becoming less common, but the personal aspect remains more important than ever. Find ways to make your customer feel connected.
Does putting the customer first mean you have to set your own goals aside? Prioritizing customers is an indirect way of reaching your own goals. It’s estimated that for every 5% increase in customer retention rate, profits will increase by over 25%.3 This is because customers are more inclined to spend at businesses they have a sense of loyalty to and a customer centric culture gives them just that.
2. Encourage Customer Centric Behaviors
Changing the culture of a business can be challenging especially when some employees are dead set in their ways, but with the right attitude it can be easier than anticipated. Use the tips below to encourage your team to have more customer centric behaviors.
- Be upfront. Provide clear direction and vision of what a customer centric culture looks like for your company so there are no surprises.
- Create a positive team atmosphere by having a positive attitude yourself. All it takes is a small group and the positivity will spread.
- Find ways to encourage your team to care. If your team members care, they will put more effort into giving the customer high quality service.
- Build trust with customers through active listening. Have your team practice active listening skills like repeating back what the customer said. This is just one way your team can make your customers feel heard.
In general, encouraging behaviors such as fast response times, positive attitudes, and active listening are all ways your team can be more customer centric.
|#ProTip: It starts at the hiring phase. Chose employees that have the right attitude and continue to promote customer centric values through on boarding in addition to on going training.|
3. Understand Your Customer
There’s a difference between knowing and understanding your customers. You might know your customers’ names, purchase history, and other general information, but do you know your customers’ goals? How about their values? What makes them tick? Identifying your customers’ needs, expectations, and other thoughts can help you create a more personalized and positive experience. This data can easily be shared with your team so they can better understand the customer and use that information to provide more personalized service.
Data collection options are endless. Sending a text or simply asking in conversation are simple ways to get a quick response. Although you can collect data without technology, 35% say the greatest challenge is they are missing technology that is key to managing data.
|#ProTip: Use satisfaction and feedback as a benchmark for your own goals and progress tracking. The more positive feedback you receive, the more customer centric your culture is.|
4. Keep Communication Open
Communication is key in any light, but when it comes to customer support, it’s imperative to keep the line open at all times. That customer wants your team to be there for them. It’s the most important thing to their happiness. How can you be there for them if they can’t communicate with you?
Leave no questions in your customers' mind. Allow them to contact you at any time, but also through whatever channels they prefer. Put their preferences first. This is where an omnichannel communication strategy can come in handy, or offering after hours support across your organization.
Not only is it important to communicate with customers, but communicating across your company is vital to customer centricity. Research reveals that companies struggling to become a customer-centric organization are unable to share customer information across departments and lack an aligned culture around the customers' needs.4 Technology, like AgriSync, can be used to improve communication with customers and across departments.
Have You Created a Customer Centric Culture in Your Company?
Companies don’t become customer centric overnight. As you continue to work towards a more customer centric culture in your company, ask yourself these questions to evaluate your progress.
- How does the company look and feel? Welcoming and friendly?
- What do company leaders value? Do our company values coincide with customer values?
- What does the outside world say about the company? Internal employees? Customers?
- What are we doing to promote a customer centric culture?
- Are there any metrics that show change? Are we reaching our goals?
Companies who create a customer centric culture are more profitable and hold higher customer retention rates. Your company can become more customer centric by prioritizing customer relationships, encouraging customer centric behaviors, understanding your customer better, and keeping communication open. It takes time to make the switch, but the results can be just as savory as the juices trickling from a chunk of steak as you take your first bite. Leave your customers with a good taste.
Hungry for more ways to be customer centric? Find out how you can facilitate customer centricity by improving response times, reducing missed calls, and improving overall customer communication with AgriSync by scheduling a demo.
- Benedict Clark, 5 Key Considerations When Creating a Customer-Centric Culture, Acquire (September 19, 2019), https://acquire.io/blog/key-considerations-customer-centric-culture/
- Deloitte, Wealth Management Digitalization changes client advisory more than ever before, Deloitte Global (July 2017), https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/de/Documents/WM%20Digitalisierung.pdf
- Fred Reichheld, Prescription for Cutting Costs, Bain & Company (September 2001), https://media.bain.com/Images/BB_Prescription_cutting_costs.pdf
- MarketingProfs, Marketing and IT: Big Data an Obstacle, an Opportunity, and Key to Customer-Centricity, MarketingProfs (April 18, 2013), https://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/10574/marketing-and-it-big-data-an-obstacle-an-opportunity-and-key-to-customer-centricity