What is customer-centricity?
Customer centricity is a mindset and a way of doing business that focuses on positive customer experience. Every product decision is made with the customer in mind, ensuring that the customer will have a positive experience at every stage of their journey. Every aspect of the product is built with the customer in mind (user experience, onboarding, help center, new features, pricing, etc.)
Why should you be customer-centric?
The main reason why businesses become customer-centric is to provide more value to the customer. Long gone are the days where you built a product, people would just signup and instantly pay, and competition was close to none.
As the market becomes more and more competitive, users' expectations of a service rise. If you don't meet your users' expectations then the users will drop. If you don't acquire and retain customers, you can't survive as a business.
If you don't have good customer service and if you fail at understanding your customers' needs, not only will you not be able to acquire new customers to grow but you will be losing customers constantly.
As a fairly new business that just popped up in the market, an unfair advantage you can have against your competition is having excellent customer service and a customer centric product.
The benefits of being customer-centric
Customer centric businesses generate greater profits and bigger growth.
Because customer centric businesses put so much effort into providing value to their customers, they have lower churn rates. Many businesses focus on acquiring new customers instead of focusing on how they can provide more value to their existing customers (improving churn rates). While sales are considered to have linear growth, constantly reducing churn is exponential.
Secondly, customer centric businesses have extremely loyal customers. Loyal customers can increase businesses' marketing power through word of mouth, which is again: exponential. Word of mouth is an extremely efficient growth strategy, but it's really hard to obtain.
Lastly, loyal users are more forgiving towards small bugs and downtime and are less likely to be "stolen" by lower-price and feature-richer alternatives to your product. And that is mainly because of the level of trust the business has built with customers.
Best practices for customer centric products
In theory, being customer-centric is a no brainer, yet many businesses struggle and even fail at simply being customer-friendly.
Have a customized getting started guide of your product
Show your users how your product works and where they can find specific features with a quick tour of your product. This saves them a lot of time and can help them grasp your product and get started in a matter of minutes.
If you serve different niches and have different uses cases for your product, simply ask users what's their use case for your product and tailor the tour guide to their needs. While this takes a lot of time and effort on your part it provides tremendous value to your onboarding experience.
Have an exceptional support service
Live chat is a must-have in 2020. Don't make your customers have to email you and wait for 24h on support.
Most customer questions are just a 5-minute interruption of what you are currently doing, and while it's a diversion from your productivity, it's a price worth paying for your customers' happiness.
If your customers are using your product as part of their work process, making sure they can complete their work and provide customer support for that should be a priority for you.
It shows customers that you value them because you are prioritizing their needs and happiness over your comfort. No one likes waiting really, and the effort will not go unnoticed. Customers will appreciate you for it.
It also proves to leads and potential customers that you are a business that values people and that can be trusted. People usually make a buying decision over who business replied quicker so you might be able to land new customers simply by having a prompt response to their question.
Collect customer feedback and act on it
You can't be a customer-centric business without constantly collecting feedback and acting on it.
Feedback is the backbone of growth. It gives you an insight into what is currently working well in your product and what you could do better. You will get the information and context needed to better understand your customers' expectations, needs, and problems they are trying to solve. Users' needs and expectations evolve with time so providing the best customer experience is a forever task.
Consistently acting on your customers' feedback shows dedication towards your customers and that you care about solving their pain points and making their life easier. It also shows continuous commitment to your product and customers and that can be a decision driver for buyers.
In a highly competitive market, successful businesses base their business decisions and strategies on real customer data. The goal here is that any improvements, new features or adjustments made to the product have to perfectly fit the customers' needs first.
Have an exceptional help center
The reason businesses have help centers is to help their customers help themselves.
Documenting your most frequently asked questions saves both your customers and employees time. Simply suggest to your users to search for their question first before reaching out to support. It's a win-win situation.
Having explanation documents on how to use features is a lifesaver for users.
Have step by step guides on how to solve different problems with your product with example images can help old users with newly released features and can help new users with old features. Additionally, you can even include a voice-over screen recording for users' convenience.
To become a customer centric company you have to truly believe the customer comes first.
Any decision has to be made with the customer in mind and any improvements, new features or adjustments made to the product have to perfectly fit the customers' needs first.
Constantly ask yourself how you can bring more value to your customers and how you can make their job easier. If you're not sure where to start simply ask your users.