Businesses that practice customer centricity consistently outpace those that are not. Also, this happens during good and bad times1. I will focus on how you can get your business more towards customer centricity during these troubled times.
There are many businesses and brands that are captured by their glory days of yesterday. Afterall, they enjoyed the majority market share, had a loyal customer base, and made good profits. Indeed, leading and managing businesses during that time were routinely straight forward.
But then the market changed, and it did so disruptively. As usual, the disruption was led by the customers, and supported by ground-breaking technology. For that reason, customers became more demanding about what they want.
Indeed, they wanted new, innovative products, increased availability, shorter lead-times, and increased differentiation of product/service. Additionally, they demanded better quality at the same price! (Rob Abdul, Digital Expert). In fact, businesses are now forced to trade in the most demanding markets ever.
Sadly, many businesses and brands failed to adapt quickly enough to the new demands of their customers in a turbulent market. Let’s have a look at how a business orientation toward customer centricity may change your fortunes.
What is Customer Centricity?
Customer centricity means putting the customer first and at the center of everything that you do, says Jennifer Mc Ginn in Informatica. Even more, it is the ability of people in a business to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations.
So, how will your business achieve this? Well, for one, you may use the current big disrupter of business markets – SMART technology.
The word “SMART” refers to “self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology” (Kelly Bowers in Rezaid) For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) and digitalization enable businesses to better understand customers and allow them to personalize products and services2. In fact, connected products and the ubiquitous availability of networks and cloud-services create new conditions. As a result, everybody can now be reached anytime, generating diverse data that can easily and quickly be accessed2.
SMART technology leads to a market transparency that has never existed before. As a result, the customer journey is also massively affected. Therefore, disrupted markets…
So, businesses need to grasp the opportunities that SMART technology renders. And by doing so follow a customer centric orientation. Sadly, this is mostly a case of ‘easily said than done’. Because many businesses are still stuck with a product orientation, or they are inwardly focus to try and manage the disruptive markets.
So, how do you get your business oriented toward customer centricity? You need to start with changing the culture of your business…
But that is a topic I will discuss more in a subsequent piece.
Further reading: What Business Owners Need to Know – Organizational Culture Matters
1 Vandermerwe, S., 2014. Breaking Through 2nd Edition Implementing Disruptive Customer Centricity, Palgrave Macmilla.
2 Aunkofer, R., 2018. Connecting the world and reinventing customer centricity, NIM Marketing Intelligence Review, 10(2):54-59.