Customer Centricity: how to always put the customer first

Customers are the beating heart of any business, so keeping them happy is key to driving business growth. Here’s how to do that.

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If the words “customer is King” have recently graced your LinkedIn feed with their presence or starred in your recent business conversations, you are probably attuned to the growing trend that is customer centricity. As the customer journey continues to evolve into something more dynamic and diverse, it’s imperative to think about ways of optimising your (hopefully) amorous customer relationships and all-important customer retention.

However, just because something looks or sounds like a customer centric strategy doesn’t necessarily mean that it genuinely is. The market is replete with shallow mission statements that swear they’ve constructed a pedestal for the customer to sit on, when in reality, it’s not even close. Getting it right is paramount – according to Deloitte and Touche research, customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve collected the numbers and done the research so you can avoid common pitfalls. By the end of this crashcourse, you should have a firm understanding of what customer centric strategies really are, best practices and tools to wield, and a feeling of inspiration from the success stories we feature. This should ideally aid you in placing the customer at the driving seat when it comes to making the right steers towards building an authentic customer-centric company ethos.

What is customer centricity?

Customer centricity focuses on creating positive experiences for customers at every stage of the sales funnel, which is paramount for driving customer loyalty. In other words, the first thing to drill into your customer centric handbook is that customer centricity isn’t just good customer service.

While this probably sounds like common sense and intuitively feels like something you already do, the customer-centric businesses that succeed are the ones that undergo a deep cultural transformation to place the customer at the centre. It’s not just your marketing department that should be involved – everyone should be an active customer-centric team player.

Key methods include using a robust CRM system that allows you to democratise customer data and translate it into valuable insights that help you understand where you can improve the customer experience – but more specifics on that later. The main bit you need to take away from this is that customer-centric companies are great at adapting and being flexible. Depending on what your numbers and customer feedback tell you, you should be willing to steer your operational ship in the direction that is most beneficial for your customers.

Why is customer centricity essential for your business communications?

Carefully crafted customer centric strategies as synonymous with repeat purchases, satisfied customers, and growing business. Let’s look at the reasons more closely:

  • More and more sales: when customers feel they’re being heard and their needs are being met, they’re more likely to come back. It’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones, so if they feel they want to offer you their brand loyalty, not only do you make more sales but you also save money in the long term.
  • Keep your customers happy: customer centric strategies position you well to provide value to your customers. Whether that’s attentive customer service or post-sale marketing, customer centricity makes your clients feel that their needs are being satisfied.
  • Customer magnet: happy customers will often transform into your best brand ambassadors by recommending your brand to their friends and family. Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most effective advertising model, and it’s often driven by customer satisfaction which, as you guessed it, stems from efficient customer centric strategies.
  • Enhances brand image and reputation: a brand’s reputation is one of its valuable assets. A strong reputation nurtured through customer centricity can drive growth and attract new customers, as well as prove to clients that your brand is credible and trustworthy. By making customer experience a priority, businesses can create a positive association with their brand and cultivate loyalty.
  • Gather customer feedback: customer centric strategies will actively build spaces for customers to provide their feedback. Knowing exactly what clients want and need is a great way to understand where your product offering is doing well and where it’s not. This helps your business better understand how to meet consumer demand.

To help solidify your understanding of why customer centricity is so important, here are a couple of statistics to be aware of:

📊 88% of CEOs are concerned about customer loyalty but
📊 According to CMO Council, only 14% of marketers believe that customer-centricity is a hallmark of their companies and
📊 A report conducted by Indeed revealed that of the 1,073 business leaders surveyed, the majority agreed that prioritising employee happiness provides a competitive advantage (87%) and makes it easier to retain top talent (96%)

Customer centricity benefits

Adjusting your business operations to accommodate customer centricity can yield plenty of benefits. Here are a few to take into account:

Enhanced customer satisfaction: by prioritising the needs and preferences of customers, businesses can deliver products and services that align more closely with what their customers want, leading to higher satisfaction levels.
Increased revenue: satisfied and loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend products or services to others, contributing to increased sales and revenue.
Competitive advantage: companies that prioritise customer centricity often stand out in the market by providing exceptional customer experiences, which can give them a competitive edge over others in the industry.
Reduced churn rates: focusing on customer satisfaction and meeting their needs can lower the number of customers leaving for competitors.
Innovation and product development: by understanding customer pain points and preferences, businesses can innovate and develop products or services that address specific needs, leading to more successful launches and market acceptance.
Increased employee satisfaction: employees often feel more fulfilled and engaged when they work in a customer-centric environment where their efforts positively impact customer experiences, leading to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
Data-driven decision making: customer-centric companies rely on data and insights gathered from customer interactions, enabling them to make informed decisions about products, services, and strategies.

Customer centricity challenges

The benefits of implementing customer centricity certainly makes it a tempting strategy to adopt – but challenges can still arise as you do so. Here are some to look out for:

🟡 Data management: gathering, organising, and analysing customer data from various sources can be complex and require robust systems and technologies. Ensuring data accuracy and privacy compliance adds another layer of complexity.
🟡 Balancing short-term vs. long-term goals: sometimes, customer-centric initiatives might not show immediate returns, making it difficult to balance short-term business goals with the long-term benefits of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
🟡 Resource allocation: investing in customer-centric strategies often requires significant resources in terms of time, money, and talent. Determining the right allocation of resources can be a challenge.
🟡 Consistency across channels: providing a consistent and seamless customer experience across various touchpoints and channels (online, offline, social media, etc.) can be challenging, especially as customer expectations evolve.
🟡 Organisational silos: departments or teams working in silos might hinder a holistic approach to customer-centricity. Collaboration across different departments is crucial for a unified customer experience.
🟡 Measuring success: defining and measuring success metrics for customer-centric initiatives can be complex. Finding the right KPIs and effectively evaluating the impact on the bottom line might pose a challenge.

How to make your small business more customer-centric

As you’re assembling your troops (team) and deciding how you’re going to tackle your new customer centric strategy, the first sobering reality you need to confront is that it’s a mission to carry out on multiple fronts. No two customers will have experienced the exact same customer journey to land on your company’s website or anywhere else where they’re a click away from selecting ‘buy’. This is why you need to consider how to be customer centric from different points of entry, as well as the software you can use to make those encounters as efficient as possible.

Reigning in the Power Of Social Media – Best Practices

It’s no surprise that social media has irreversibly transformed the customer journey. After all, social media is the top channel consumers prefer to use to engage with brands and 49% of consumers rate receiving excellent social media customer service as being very important when making a purchase. Therefore, getting customer-centricity right is just as important as it is over the phone as it is over your Instagram DMs.
To get a feel of what best practices you can follow on social media to be customer-centric, we spoke to our in-house Social Media Specialist, Lotti Haxell. Here are the things you can do:
  • Check your DMs often: you should be checking your DMs at least once a day, regardless of the size of your business. If your social media is a storefront, people will expect to be able to ask questions and get answers here. Leaving messages unread for days or weeks will not only leave your customers frustrated but may make your business look unattended, damaging trust. Check them in the morning, sort the quick ones from the harder ones and schedule time to resolve messages that need dedicated time
  • Engage with your audience: an important concept to remember here is the 1000 Followers vs 100 Fans rule. In other words, a core collection of individuals who love your brand will buy and buy again and spread the word of your products, as opposed to numbers on a profile who you won’t ever convert. If a customer has made the effort to promote you, leave a kind comment, or tag you in their content, take some time to show appreciation for this. The customer will walk away with a positive interaction with you, and others will see the human behind the brand, encouraging more interactions. Apps such as Instagram will also notice your interactions as genuine use of their platform, which never hurts
  • Be a person: although it sounds slightly odd, people like to deal with people. This is one of the many reasons influencer marketing is so effective in some industries. No one wants to deal with a robot, and acting as a brand while on social media can leave potential customers feeling cold.

Make Customer Journeys Easier

  • Add a buy button: many social media platforms (such as Instagram) now integrate a store in-app, which will make shopping a step easier for your customers. You can highlight best sellers or new merch products here with striking photographs and informative bios. The platform itself will make spending even easier for a user, as platforms like Instagram store card data for a contactless purchase in-app
  • Organise your content for ease of use: many apps, like TikTok or Instagram, will allow you to sort your different content streams into handy folders. If a customer is looking for a tutorial of your software, or how to style a garment, grouping these together will not only make content easier to find but may also hook them in to see more of what you offer, potentially creating new sales
  • Signpost clearly: lay out your most important information clearly on your profiles. Large brands can play it fast and loose with how they signpost themselves, as they are household names, but for a growing business it’s a good idea to make the most of what might be a scrolling glance from a potential customer. Keep language simple yet explicit – tell your audience what you do, your unique selling point, and signpost what you can offer them and how. Time is money, doubly so on social media, so don’t deceive a customer and waste their time

How to measure customer centricity

How do you know if your business is showing the symptoms of customer centricity? Here are three simple ways to do so, depending on your goals.
  1. Churn rate: acquiring new customers is becoming more difficult as the market diversifies. Investing in keeping customers can be more cost-effective than finding new ones. You can calculate churn rate by measuring the number of customers who left in the last 12 months divided by the average number of total customers.
  2. Net Promoter Score: this focuses on uncovering customer loyalty by asking one simple question: “would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?”. Scaled from 1 to 10, your responders can be pooled into three groups, corresponding to their answers: promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6). The more promoters, the healthier your customer centricity will be.
  3. Customer Lifetime Value: if your goal is to invest in long-term customer or client relationships, you can measure the amount of revenue a customer has contributed to your business for as long as they were paying customers. The lifetime of the customer starts with their first purchase up until they stop doing business with you. To calculate this, you add up the total revenue you earned from that customer, multiply it by the length of the business relationship, and finally deduct the initial cost of acquiring the customer.
Did you know?

A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%.

Customer centricity examples

If you want to get inspired, we’ve collected a few examples of brands that have managed to do well with customer centricity. Check these out:

1.Ikea: the Swedish furniture company’s approach to in-store and digital shopping is unique as it focuses heavily on customer experience. Its immersive showrooms, curated spaces and food court cater to different customer needs, making shopping feel more like an experience rather than a standard practice. Its IKEA Place app is another great example of customer centricity. The app gives customers the ability to virtually place true-to-scale 3D models in their own space, furnish a whole room in one tap, and find the perfect product. The enhanced customer journey gives users all the information they need to make a confident purchasing decision and walk away feeling happy with their experience.

IKEA Place App. Source: IKEA

2. L’Oreal: by adopting emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, the beauty company has improved the customer experience. Their intelligent app allows clients to try on different foundations to find their shade without having to go to a physical store or create their own. These hyper-personalised shopping experiences target a crucial pain point in the beauty industry, giving customers a good reason to trust L’Oreal.

3. Apple: the Silicon Valley giant’s success is rooted in its ability to create a seamless and cohesive customer journey. Their products, services, and retail experiences all work together to provide customers with a consistent and enjoyable experience. From their smooth product design to its in-store Genius Bar, Apple shows the importance of having consistently high standards of customer service across every touchpoint of the sales funnel.

4. Starbucks: the global coffee brand has created a unique customer experience that keeps people coming back. Its comfortable store environments, personalised beverages, and loyalty program all contribute to a customer-centric experience that gives it a competitive advantage.

5. Amazon: although this example is controversial considering the bad press Amazon often is a part of, there is no denying it has implemented efficient customer centricity that has enabled it to dominate the ecommerce space. The company continually invests in innovative technology and processes to improve customer experience. From personalised product recommendations to one-click ordering, Amazon showcases how brands can understand and anticipate customer needs.


As we land on the epilogue of our Customer Centric Strategies crash course, you should hopefully feel that you have all the tools and insights necessary to place a glistening figurative crown atop your customers’ heads. Whilst making the transition to placing your customer at the heart of everything is gradual, and quite genuinely, a learning process, it’s a worthy investment of your time and resources.

From improved customer loyalty to widening profit margins, there’s lots of reasons why customer centricity should inform your business strategy from now on. Therefore, whilst we don’t need to reiterate that the phrase ‘customer is King’ is already a respected business mantra, what you now should focus on is making that phrase an indisputable reality of how your business operates.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between customer centricity and customer service?
    Customer centricity focuses on placing the customer at the core of the business strategy, emphasising understanding their needs, preferences, and experiences across the entire customer journey. On the other hand, customer service pertains to specific interactions and support provided to customers when they reach out for assistance or guidance, aiming to resolve issues and ensure satisfaction in those individual interactions.
  • How can startups implement customer centricity?
    Startups can implement customer centricity by actively engaging with early customers to understand their needs, gathering feedback, and iterating based on insights. Prioritising customer feedback in product development, offering personalised experiences, and fostering a culture that values customer input are key steps in embracing customer centricity.
  • Is customer centricity applicable to all industries?
    Yes, customer centricity is applicable across industries. Regardless of the sector, understanding and meeting customer needs, delivering exceptional experiences, and tailoring products or services to match preferences are vital for success.
Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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