“Building a successful brand isn’t just about RoI; it’s also about building authentic relationships with people”. Impressive isn’t it? I came across this quote from Ryan Homes, CEO Hootsuite and this struck a chord. Most businesses tend to be narrowly focused on generating revenues and preserving margins. While these results are the crux of a business, however, it pays to adopt a wider lens and take a more long-lasting and fulfilling approach towards the same goals.
At Prayag, we call this holistic approach as a “customer-centric approach”. While this sounds high and lofty, in reality it is not – it implies a holistic approach to your market encompassing all stakeholders and not just customers. With this kind of an approach, a business can expect to improve what it offers and ensure it is relevant to what the customers want and make sure that the entire ecosystem is aligned and work in a synchronized way. Ultimately this leads to increased revenues and better profits and all achieved through happier customers, employees and partners.
Why does a business need to focus on these three stakeholders? It is because the customer, employee and the partner form the first circle of influence for a business and their role is interconnected.
Customers clearly are the kingpin in this entire game and maximum efforts have to be in this direction. Suppliers and partners on the other hand play a different but significant role. A business needs to have a good relationship in place with its suppliers/partners so that they get the best out of them and in turn pass it on the customers. By developing a deep relationship with your partners, a business can expect better responses and a more loyal engagement –surely, that can’t be too bad?
Employees – enough and more has been said on the role employees can play in making an organization focus better on the customer. For starters, each employee has to be completely aligned with the customer and this extends beyond regular customer facing functions to backend functions such as finance, HR etc. Why is this important? Because all employees need to sing the same tune for a business to become customer-centric. So, whatever positioning and messaging you adopt for the market, it is important that all employees are made aware and educated – so that the people hear the same message from your business. Nothing can be worse than a customer getting two different messages from within the same company and this can cause a lot of damage.
There are others such as the government, investors etc. – but they are outside of a company’s circle of immediate influence and so let us set them aside for now.
A customer-centricity program involves setting up programs to connect with these stakeholders and understand their expectations and requirements better and plough those insights back into the way you run your business. This could be in the form of new product/service offerings, changes in team organization, introduction of new processes and so on.
With the launch and proper implementation of a customer-centricity program, a business will be able to –
• Strengthen market strategy and business focus through proper segmentation of customers
• Increase revenues per customer
• Uncover customers’ expectations from both the internal team and the customer organization
• Keep stakeholders engaged
• Add value to the relationships and enhance customer lifetime value
To me it appears that we need to get back to the basics by focusing on relationships that form the pillars of your business. What do you think?