The idea of customer-centricity is nothing new. Burger King first introduced its, “Have it your way,” slogan in 1974. From the get-go, they were on to something. Yes, I know there isn’t anything terribly sexy about fast food chains and insta-broiled burgers, but the mindset behind ‘have it your way’ was and still is spot on.
It all goes back to basic business concerns. With the rapid growth of social media, more and more consumers exercise their new found power and share their customer experience nightmares with the whole world, just ask Comcast. A customer centric approach isn’t optional. They are table stakes to produce business success and generate true customer loyalty and brand staying-power.
Relevance is the key:
If you don’t become customer-centric, your messaging will not be relevant. Your message will be ignored, and your marketing dollars will be wasted. To avoid this, you have to listen to your customers. More than 50% of existing content is never seen by a human being. Most inbound marketing result in, at most, a single digit click through rate. All this really means is that over 90% of your marketing dollars are wasted- all from a lack of relevancy.
The perpetual question remains- What makes content relevant?
Relevancy comes by thinking from the customer’s perspective. That is why that old Burger King adage still rings true. It is an affirmation from the company to the customer to “have it your way” – we insist.
Unfortunately for the consumer, most brands don’t think or act that way. They are focused on “here’s our story” as opposed to “here’s what about our story appeals to you- the customer.”
Consumers are inundated with so much content that your brand has to be instantly relevant to even hope to break through the noise. The way to achieve that is to pay attention to what is actually top of mind, what are the day to day issues that are already on your customer’s mind.
Most messaging is conceived of as being brand centric, which it should be. But as the ‘seller’ you also have to be the ‘listener.’ As the listener, you need to pay attention to what your customers are saying, what they are doing and what is going to be relevant to them. Think about messaging from their standpoint; talk in their language about what they care about.
Customer Insight: Where do I spend my marketing dollars to create relevant messaging?
So, if it all comes down to relevance and specific customer passion points, where should I spend my money? Begin spending your money and focus your energy on getting into the consumer’s head aka actionable real-time, dynamic customer insight.
You need to get accustomed to assessment, to understanding your audience, to knowing their motivation and knowing what engages them. To do this, you must take a new look at how you use customer research to understand who they are and what they care about.
Be comprehensive- the gathering of customer insight has to be coupled with a comprehensive approach to planning and thinking about every element of customer experience. Before you begin producing content, you need to create a documented content marketing strategy that is informed by insight and provides a tangible and practical guide to messaging and experience design.
Consumer perception of a company and its brand starts at their very first interaction, which could be as simple as an ad at a bus stop to something as immersed as the usability of a mobile app. You have to think comprehensively but also intuitively. Consumers expect a seamless experience no matter what channel, device or platform they use at any given moment. To remain competitive, you have to give it to them “their way.”
Being customer-centric, is all about recognition and acknowledgement:
If you don’t recognize and acknowledge your customers, you are not customer-centric. Your customers will feel ignored; they will leave you, and your business will lose revenue.
Just remember: Every time you get info, you need to give something back. For example, if you ask for someone’s birthday, send them a coupon or birthday card on their birthday. This kind of recognition is crucial to a customer’s impression because by collecting information, you imply that you can deliver a personalized experience. And after all, that is what modern customers expect.
A few good rules of thumb:
- Only collect data that you think you can use to give something back.
- Only collect data that can deliver something of value to the customer.
- Be consistent- Living in an omni-channel world- consistency is a key element.
- Have good data hygiene- Keep it up to date but be careful of the creep factor.
Want to Remain Competitive- Be Customer Centric-Your Competition is…
If you aren’t customer-centric, you will not be able to compete because your competitors are already becoming more customer-centric every day. For most mature markets today, it’s a zero sum game. It’s either you or your competitors; you cannot both win. Customer-centricity is how companies differentiate. T-Mobile is an excellent example of this; within the very saturated cell phone market, T-Mobile has demonstrated a new form of customer-centricity by offering to buy out old plans and allowing consumers flexible plan options that don’t require a two year commitment. This disruptive approach is shaping T-Mobile as a company with one of the fastest growth rates in the industry.
Customer-centricity is necessary to enhance and nurture positive customer experience in all steps of the buyer journey. So, here are three common sense tips on how to avoid the customer-centric woes of industry fails:
#1- Acknowledge at every step- so many undervalue customer loyalty. That’s where the fail happens.
#2- Respect the Value of customer’s personal data- you are not entitled to it. You don’t own it.
#3- Give to receive. The Fair Exchange is ongoing.