Some small businesses take a “sell, sell, sell” approach, which can certainly pay off in the short term. The problem, though, is that it can often cost you in the long term.
Why? Because the one thing that will guarantee ongoing success is happy customers. Aggressive marketing, though, often makes customers unhappy.
That’s why every small business should adopt a customer-centric approach. That means shifting from a mindset of “How much can we get out of them today?” to “How much can we do for them today so they think positively about us in the future?”
Yes, that might cost you profits in the short term. But it will lead to greater profits in the long term.
What sets customer-centric small businesses apart from their rivals?
- They are easy to do business with.
- They anticipate their customers’ needs.
- They care about their customers.
- They are honest and transparent.
- They deliver excellent customer service.
Why being customer-centric is good for your small business
- Forbes reports that 73% of companies that offer above-average customer experience perform better than their rivals.
- 84% of companies that have deliberately chosen to be more customer-centric report an increase in their revenue.
- Companies that focus on their customer experience first and foremost drive profits 4% to 8% higher than their competitors.
5 ways to be more customer-centric in your business marketing
- Create a specific customer profile, and then target that person.
Targeted marketing builds brand awareness, leads to better products and services, enhances customer experience, and makes it easier for your small business to reach your customers authentically.
- Listen to your customers, rather than simply talking to them.
Engage empathetically with your customers on social media. Spy on your rivals — what are their customers asking for on social media, and how can you meet that need? Encourage your customers to leave reviews, and pay attention to their feedback.
- Incorporate a physical reminder to stay customer-centric.
For example, a slogan in your mission statement or a badge worn by staff with a client-centric catchphrase like, “We’re here for you.” Amazon is famous for leaving an empty seat at important meetings. The open seat symbolises the most important person in the room: the customer.
- Convert to a long-term marketing strategy.
Marketing that aims for quick outcomes may be good at getting customers to your door, but whether those customers return and become ambassadors for your brand will be determined by how valuable your service made them feel.
- Rethink how you measure success.
Marketing is traditionally judged by immediate financial gain. Adopting a customer-centric approach will lead to a greater user experience, resulting in happy ambassadors for your small business and increased profits in due course.
Being customer-centric means shifting the focus from you to your customer. The better you take care of them, the better they’ll take care of you. This is a great approach for small businesses that need something special to differentiate them from their rivals.
Nick Bendel, director of Hunter & Scribe