The reality of the market has shifted the focus of brand managers from the product to the customer. There was a time when to differentiate yourself it was enough to have a good product, a good design, a good service. Today, consumers are more informed than ever, markets are saturated, and brands play a more necessary role than ever. And because brands are built by people for people, it’s clear that the relationship with them is critical to business success. As in any relationship, having the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes will be essential to gain their trust.

Welcome to the world of perceptions

Perceptions are critical in building a brand. And in today’s digital world, where customers have all the power to alter the perceptions of others, brands are obliged to pay significant attention to this reality.

Customers believe in their own perceptions, in those of their family and friends, in those of the people they trust and follow online. If we don’t know these perceptions, we will hardly be able to react to their stimuli, or improve our service/product, or create experiences that really make them feel good.

Customer Orientation

There’s a common dogma for any type of business: if you don’t win and retain customers, you die. From this simple sentence, it is easy to deduce the importance of customer orientation for all companies. Only those that truly put the customer at the center of their decisions will be able to build a solid and lasting business model.

Customer centricity is a way of doing business that fosters positive experiences at every stage of the customer relationship. It generates loyalty and satisfaction that leads to recall and recommendation and, therefore, to more customers and more business. It’s not about providing great customer service, it’s about providing you with a great experience before, during, and after the purchase.

It is therefore a vision from the outside to the inside, which tries to understand desires and not just needs, offering complete solutions that solve certain aspects of people’s lives.

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Being a customer-oriented company implies conviction from the management itself, since it is not a marketing strategy but a way of understanding the business. This is the only way to achieve a global commitment on the part of the entire Organization. Doing so involves at least these 4 steps:

4 Steps to Achieving Customer Centricity

  1. CULTURE. Many companies remain product-oriented due to a lack of a brand culture capable of understanding that the customer is the most important part of their business. This requires active listening, the ability to distill the information it collects and detect
    relevant insights
    for customers.
  2. ANTICIPATION. Steve Jobs knew what the customer wanted even before we all knew that smartphoneswere going to change our lives. Until then, other manufacturers were content to achieve smaller devices. Proactivity is a good strategy in this regard.
  3. ANSWER. It may seem obvious, but to create great customer insight you need to know how they feel. Let’s forget about the evaluation devices with “smiles” at the exit of the stores, let’s think about relating to the customer and getting first-hand feedback. I said it before, brands are relationships and you don’t get that by waiting for them to hit a button.
  4. ACCESSIBILITY. Today, we want to connect with brands anytime, anywhere. The digital environment is a threat but also an opportunity. The well-known chatbotsare giving way today toHuman Brands, with which we will carry out 85% of interactions with brands by the end of 2020 according to Gartner. Brands need to be prepared for this.

The path to customer centricity is complex, but every step taken in this direction can mean benefits for employees and customers. It’s time to stop looking at the customer and get into their eyes to see what they see.

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®

 

Photos: Shutterstock

 

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