Five Ways to Become Customer-Centric without Relinquishing Brand Credibility

June 26, 2017 | Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. | HCI
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Businesses spend a great deal of time developing competitive brands that they hope will flourish in the marketplace.  They try to put their best foot forward and make their products or services attractive to potential clientele, who they hope will eventually become brand ambassadors.  While determining a business’s ideal client is certainly part of the branding process, the rationale behind it can often get lost in the shuffle over time. When this happens, loyalty waxes and wanes.

To get back to the drawing board and prioritize customer’s needs, businesses must take a step back and focus on their “why.” This analysis includes shifting the spotlight onto the client.

If your goal is to become more customer-centric, it is entirely possible to do so without sacrificing your brand platform.  

Five strategies to consider as you move forward

  1. Adjust your core message.  Have you been focused on touting your know-how and the “overwhelming" appeal of your products or services? Try leading with a different message.  Consider adjusting your core message to reflect how your products and services are geared toward helping your ideal client achieve their goals or have an ideal experience.  Your message affects how potential clients perceive the value of your offerings. Let them know that your goal is to help them be and do better. You would not have a business without them so adjusting your core message to be more customer-centric would also confer positive effects on your brand.
  2. Develop deep knowledge of the customer.  Having cursory knowledge of your customer is as good as having none.  Being customer-centric means that you are committed to on-going learning about your customer at a foundational level. You want to know what drives them, what their individual circumstances are, what they need, what they want, and what variables influences their decision-making on either side of the spectrum. This means taking the time to get up close and personal with your customer and learning or re-learning why they are ideally suited for what you have to offer.  
  3. Engage your customer.  Feeling connected matters. Just as you desire to develop deep knowledge of your customer, customers want to feel connected to you.  How does that happen? Engagement. Instead of waiting for customers to visit your website or see your footprint out in the digital universe in some ambiguous way, take the lead.  Attention spans are short so make your message brief, but impactful. Reel them in by providing value that they don't have to work hard to get. Surveys, free trials, upgrades, targeted, personalized, interactive communication and speaking them at live events are all great ways to connect with your customer that are designed to bring you closer.  Remember, most people don't buy from strangers. Even referrals come by way of making a deeper and compelling connection that sticks.
  4. Create experiences that wow. Exceeding expectations is the stuff that great brands are made of.  Creating experiences that “wow" your customers don't have to be complicated or cost-prohibitive.  They need to feel appreciated. Customers like to be treated well—really well. They wanted to feel special and not like a fungible commodity. It's what keeps them coming back.  Whether it's calling them by name, sending personal, hand-written notes, remembering their birthday, anniversary, or keeping a log of past purchases and inquiring about how they are faring, customers like to know that you care.  These are merely some of the many ways to ignite that wow factor.
  5. Ask the customer.  While developing deep knowledge of your customer may involve surveys and interviews with your clients, your inquiries should not stop there.  If you really want to get to know your customers and drive your products and services around their unique needs, do it the old-fashioned way and just ask.  You might be surprised at what an inquiry might yield. And, honest feedback is the most useful. You should encourage customers to be open and honest, advising that is the only way that you can develop responsive strategies to address their needs.

It’s true: You can become more customer-centric without compromising your brand. Use these tips to help you begin the journey toward your customer-centric evolution.