As I suggested in my previous post on customer centricity, companies must reorient their thinking from product margins to customer lifetime value to be successful. While customer centricity may not be a new business concept, success in the arena now takes more than producing a product that meets demand.
Emilie Kroner of the American Marketing Association (AMA) provides a great primer for customer-centric business in the digital age in her “7 Pillars of Customer Centricity”. To have sustained success (defined as customer retention leading to increased profitability), companies must understand current customer needs and wants, and ensure that the right internal and customer-facing strategies, processes, and marketing initiatives are used to satisfy them. By analyzing customers’ perceptions against these pillars, marketers then build a plan for customer-centric activation that drives loyalty.
Here’s Kroner’s checklist to make sure that your efforts will have the biggest impact and payoff with the only thing that matters—your customer.
- Experience: Make the customer experience easy, enjoyable and convenient. Companies that excel in customer experience make their customers so happy that they want to share their positive interactions with your brand.
- Loyalty: Reward and recognize customers in a consistent way that is relevant to how they want to be rewarded. Loyal companies reward shoppers in ways that are meaningful to customers.
- Communications: Personalize the message to customers, based upon what they buy, and in a way they like. Highly communicative companies provide tailored, relevant communications based on customer preferences.
- Assortment: Have the right products and a strong variety to meet customers’ needs. Companies shouldn’t necessarily have the widest selection of products, but they should stock the ones their customers want.
- Promotions: Leverage promotions on the items that are most appealing and often purchased by current customers. Companies with successful promotions programs promote the products that matter the most to customers.
- Price: Provide prices that are perceived to be in line with what the customer is looking for on the products they purchase most often. Brands don’t have to be the price leaders, but they do need to have pricing that customers perceive as fair.
- Feedback: Hear and recognize customer concerns. Companies that rank high in customer feedback have a two-way conversation and emotional connection with their customers.
Kroner correctly asserts that true growth is fostered when a company understands its customers’ behaviors and attitudes. By aligning customer insights with enabling technologies and operational processes, companies can close gaps in performance among Kroner’s seven pillars. In this digital era, it still boils down to the Nordstrom Way developed over 100 years ago. Deliver flawless service and services and you’ll drive increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sustainable results along the way.
See Kroner’s full article at AMA.org