Customer-Centric Approach To Branding: 7 Ways To Improve

According to Statistica, almost 283 billion spam emails were sent to people between October 2020 and September 2021. On average, that’s 21 spam emails per person daily. Do businesses think these messages can get through the clutter or not be dismissed as irrelevant?

As a brand, how can you rise above the noise and capture a customer’s attention?

The answer is a customer-centric approach. This strategy doesn’t only make your brand stand out but also resonates with your audience. In other words, your brand’s success depends on how well you know and cater to your customers. 

What Is a Customer-Centric Approach and Why Is It Important?

A customer-centric approach is putting your customers at the heart of all your business decisions and strategies. It involves understanding customer needs, expectations, and problems. Based on these factors, you tailor your products, services, and entire business operations to meet and exceed their expectations.

The biggest reason why customer-centricity is important is to thrive. If you make your customers the VIPS of your company, they feel valued and happy, so they stay loyal and even tell the people they know about your brand. This leads to more customers, helping your business grow.

So, being a customer-centric company is a win-win situation—you provide customer satisfaction and grow your revenue.

How Do You Adopt A Customer-Centric Approach?

Building a customer-centric culture requires a strategic, comprehensive approach.

Here are some key steps to get started and some customer-centric examples:

1. Understand Your Customers

Study your customers’ buying habits and interactions with your brand across all channels. Focus on customer behavior, needs, preferences, customer journey analysis, and pain points. 

When you buy something online, they often ask you to leave a review, and there’s a good reason for that. It is their way to ask what you want and think of its product.

Let’s take Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph’s Netflix as an example with over 232 million paid subscribers worldwide as of March 2023.

Starting as a DVD-by-mail rental service, the company understood that the future was in digital streaming. Using collected customer data, they realized that their customers wanted convenience and a wide variety of choices, and could watch on their own terms. So, it transitioned into an online streaming service.

However, the understanding didn’t stop there.

Customer-centric companies like Netflix knew that they needed to provide personalized experiences to make consumers happy, which can lead to customer retention. Using what Hastings calls “consumer science,” Netflix analyzes the viewing habits of its subscribers to provide personalized recommendations. They even went further and started producing their own series and films, often based on what their viewer data suggested would be popular. This has led to highly successful series like “The Witcher” in 2018 and “Stranger Things” in 2016.

Moreover, Netflix maintains a simple, ad-free viewing experience, knowing its subscribers value uninterrupted viewing. Additionally, they offer flexible subscription plans to cater to different viewing habits and budgets.

2. Personalize Customer Experience

Customers don’t just want a personalized experience. They demand it. According to a 2021 survey, over 60% of consumers say they will likely become repeat customers after a personalized shopping experience. 

Amazon, for instance, excels in this area with personalized recommendations of products based on customers’ browsing and purchasing history. When you log in, you will see suggestions that are most likely your interests, making your shopping experience more relevant and convenient.

Here’s how you could also provide a customer-centric service:

  • Use customer data that you track from their browsing or purchasing history, surveys, or their interactions with your brand on social media.
  • Know and use your customer’s name.
  • Offer personalized and unique solutions.
  • Group your customers into segments based on shared location, ages, buying habits, or interests.
  • Be friendly.

3. Deliver Excellent Customer Service

Ensure your customer service is responsive and helpful and goes above and beyond to solve your customers’ issues. Zappos, an online retail company, is renowned for its exceptional customer service. This customer-centric business offers a 365-day return policy if a customer is unsatisfied with a certain product. 

4. Engage Customers Across Channels

One of the ways to improve your customer-centric approach is to interact with your customers wherever they are—social media, website, email, mobile app, or any physical store. 

Sephora, a famous beauty and cosmetics retailer, is another example of a customer-driven organization. Its brick-and-mortar stores are designed to be interactive, allowing customers to try their products before buying. They have customer service reps who give expert advice and answer questions from people. They also have a user-friendly website and mobile app with a wide range of products. Each item has complete information, customer reviews, and beauty tips.

Their site and app also feature a “Virtual Artist,” which lets customers virtually try on different makeup products.

The company has a strong presence on social media, sharing makeup tutorials, new product launches, and content based on users’ interests. Most importantly, they directly engage with their followers, responding to comments and messages.

5. Seek and Act on Customer Feedback

Collect customer feedback regularly, then use the results to improve your offerings. Apple’s customer-centric approach always values customer feedback to improve their products and services.

Apple has a few avenues where it collects feedback, including:

  • Apple support communities
  • Feedback forums
  • Beta software program
  • Retail stores and support lines

After receiving feedback about customers’ desire for a more affordable iPhone, the company released the iPhone SE. Similarly, they used user feedback to improve iOS, including enhanced privacy features and customizable widgets.

6. Reward Loyal Customers

You cannot survive over time without customer loyalty. Starbucks is a prime example of a brand that rewards repeat customers through its Starbucks Rewards Program. This customer-centric approach was launched in 2009, wherein customers earn stars for every purchase. You can earn one star for every dollar spent using your registered Starbucks Card or the app at participating stores. These stars accumulate over time and can be redeemed for free drinks, food, or more.

You can offer discounts to high-spending customers, create a loyalty card scheme, give away free items if they have multiple purchases, or offer additional products or services at a discount.

7. Train Your Team

Your team should understand the importance of a customer-centric approach and how to deliver it.

Ritz-Carlton, a hotel company, empowers its employees to spend up to $2,000 to resolve a guest issue or provide a positive customer experience without management approval. It’s often referred to as “The $2,000 Rule,” which shows the trust and autonomy the company gives to its customer service team.

This approach results in high levels of guest satisfaction and, at the same time, boosts employee morale and motivation. It’s because they feel valued and trusted to make important decisions. It indeed embodies the company’s motto: “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”

Final Thoughts

The power of personalization cannot be underestimated when adopting a customer-centric approach to your organization. Customer-centric examples shown by giant companies like Apple, Starbucks, and Sephora proved that when done right, it improves customer relationships and drives business growth. So, always remember that brands that thrive place customers at the center of their universe.

Ready to take your brand to the next level? Don’t leave it to chance. Give us a call today, and let us guide you on becoming a customer-centric brand.

Your Action Plan

  1. Evaluate Your Current Approach: Before making changes, evaluate your existing customer service and interaction strategies. Understand where you stand in terms of customer-centricity and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Deep Dive into Customer Understanding: Encourage readers to invest time in understanding their customers deeply. This includes studying buying habits, preferences, and feedback. Utilize surveys, social media listening, and customer interviews to gather insightful data.
  3. Personalize the Customer Experience: Stress the importance of personalization in all customer interactions. Guide readers to leverage customer data to tailor recommendations, communications, and solutions. Share tactics for using customer names, segmenting audiences, and providing unique solutions.
  4. Enhance Customer Service: Advise on improving customer service channels. Highlight the importance of being responsive, going above and beyond, and solving issues promptly. Encourage adopting best practices from customer-centric companies like Zappos.
  5. Optimize Omnichannel Engagement: Prompt readers to engage with customers across various platforms consistently. This could include social media, email, websites, and physical stores. Emphasize creating a seamless and integrated experience across all channels.
  6. Implement Continuous Feedback Loops: Emphasize the importance of seeking and acting on customer feedback. Guide on setting up mechanisms for regular feedback collection and demonstrate how to incorporate this feedback into product and service improvements.
  7. Create a Reward System for Loyalty: Highlight the importance of rewarding loyal customers. Discuss different loyalty programs and incentives that can be offered, drawing inspiration from successful loyalty programs like Starbucks Rewards.
  8. Invest in Team Training: Assert the importance of having a well-trained team that understands and can execute a customer-centric approach. Encourage ongoing training and empowerment, using Ritz-Carlton’s employee empowerment as an example.
  9. Monitor and Adjust: Remind readers that adopting a customer-centric approach is an ongoing process. Urge them to continuously monitor the effectiveness of their strategies and make adjustments based on customer feedback and business outcomes.
  10. Call to Action: Conclude with a strong call to action, encouraging readers to take the first step towards becoming a more customer-centric brand. Offer additional resources, consulting services, or contact information for further assistance.