If there’s any certainty in today’s eComm & Retail landscape is that customers now have more options than ever before. Also, the customer expects high service, convenience, and personalization in exchange for his patronage.

Where is this situation leaving eComm people?

Easy. 

Businesses that aren’t customer-centric will lose out on valuable revenue and growth opportunities.

Even if customers feeling ignored or mistreated will take their business elsewhere, few companies take customer-centricity seriously enough.

We can do better, can’t we?

Today’s post explores why customer-centricity is crucial and how to become more customer-centric. 

Keep reading and discover valuable insights and practical tips to help you prioritize your customers, increase your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and drive business success.

What is Customer-Centricity?

Customer-Centricity refers to the deliberate, intentional action of putting the customer first and creating relevant and valuable experiences at every stage of the customer journey.

From awareness to loyalization, customer-centricity involves thinking of customer happiness and satisfaction every step of the way and making decisions with the customer in mind. 

Customer-centricity had existed since 1954 when Peter Drucker famously said:

“It is the customer who determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper.”

The concept has only grown stronger in the past decades, as more and more tools were created to upgrade eComm & Retail processes, and we have more means to collect customer data that dictate our business decisions.

In other words – it’s become so easy to gather insights to improve the relationships with your customers that nothing stops you from becoming customer-focused anymore.

Why Is Customer-Centricity Important?

In the age of instant communication, where people log in to social media more often than they’re calling their moms, lousy customer reviews spread and travel fast.

It may take a lifetime to build a reputation that’s lost in a matter of minutes. So, each bad review and failed customer interaction costs you both brand reputation and revenue. 

Negative interactions with customer service representatives collectively cost businesses more than $62 billion annually. Additionally, a staggering 91% of customers with a negative customer service experience will leave without even providing feedback to the business.

You can avoid all the negativity by focusing your powers on keeping your customers happy with your brand. Even if nasty comments arise, acting quickly can mitigate the damage and keep customers from churning. 

Besides the obvious financial importance of customer-centricity, there are other reasons why you should strive toward customer-centricity:

  • You’ll gain more clarity and objectivity when making a decision.
  • You’ll identify valuable customers and prioritize retaining them.
  • You’ll create better onboarding processes and build stronger customer relationships.
  • You’ll generate better engagement rates, improved loyalty, and increased customer lifetime value.
  • You’ll quickly uncover your best- and worst-selling products and prioritize valuable products while eliminating toxic ones.

The Benefits of Customer-Centricity

Besides the obvious importance of being customer-centric in today’s landscape, there are some tangible benefits of being obsessed with your customers.

Use these benefits as a selling point should you ever want to persuade upper management to place more value on your existing customer.

Or if you’re an exec yourself, wondering whether it’s worth it, this following list will help you decide.

  • Moves the needle for the company’s growth.

You can’t own a business without customers. 

And can you definitely, absolutely, never own a profitable D2C business without a steady stream of customers bringing in revenue. 

Even as an employee – your employer will only be capable of offering you job security and financial stability if his business sees monthly profits, no matter the economy.

Now, with customer-centricity, you can achieve unprecedented business growth, as satisfied customers are more likely to return and buy again from you – even bringing their friends along the ride. 

Increased retention rates, combined with customer recommendations, will bring in more revenue and profits than acquisition alone. 

In fact, research by Deloitte and Touche shows that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than product-centric businesses. Moreover, 64% of companies led by a customer-centric CEO are more profitable than the competition. 

What would a 60% increase in profits look like in your organization?

Another research by PWC found out that consumers will spend up to 18% more for a product conditioned they’re receiving an excellent customer experience.

  • It helps you rise up from the crowd.

There’s a famous quote roaming the internet about how people will only remember how you made them feel – no matter your actions, words, or looks. 

It’s especially true in eComm & Retail, where competition is fierce, and it’s challenging to create unique products that no one could ever recreate. 

With the meteoric rise of online retailers in 2020, you’re bidding against more competitors than ever. So, your safest bet is investing in understanding your customers and anticipating their needs to create experiences they’ll remember. 

It’s simple – no one will stick around for long if the brand treats them poorly. However, customers are less likely to switch to a competitor when the situation changes and customers are satisfied. 

  • Saves costs on marketing budgets.

While 63% of marketing people treat the acquisition as the most crucial ad goal, data shows that acquisition can cost you up to 7x more than retention.

Besides the cost difference between acquisition and retention, the conversion rate probability also has a considerable discrepancy. 

According to Marketing Metrics, the According to Marketing Metrics, the chance of selling to a current customer is between 60 and 70%. Unfortunately, when it comes to new customers, the probability of converting them collapses to a mere 5-20% 

So, acquiring a new customer is more expensive and unlikely than leveraging your existing customer base for repeat purchases. 

Retention and improved customer loyalty will not only save you money but also increase your effectiveness as a marketing department. 

Moreover, customer-centric companies have excellent brand reputations, and people are more willing to recommend them. This means you can also count on word-of-mouth marketing to bring new customers on board at virtually no cost. 

  • It diminishes your risks.

The biggest risk companies are exposing themselves to is losing their customers

And the risk isn’t unwarranted: data from KISSmetrics shows that 71% of consumers stopped buying from a company after a poor customer experience. 

Reiterating the idea above – no one wants to spend time and money on a business that treats them poorly

The sad part is that it can take even years for a company to acquire a steady customer base while losing these customers is a matter of seconds. 

Customer-centricity empowers you to avoid this risk since you’ll do a better job keeping your customers happy and helping them progress in their lives.

A man posing happily in front of a vivid purple background for an engaging blog post.

Like what you're reading?

Join the informed eCommerce crowd!

Stay connected to what’s hot in eCommerce.

We will never bug you with irrelevant info.

By clicking the Button, you confirm that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.

Barriers to Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

So, if it’s such a great bet for eComm & Retail players, why aren’t all companies doing it? 

You know what they say…if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. 

There are quite a few obstacles to becoming customer-centric. Are you facing any one of them? Let’s see.

  • There’s no long-term vision.

Customer-centricity isn’t achieved overnight. Creating strong, meaningful, and sincere customer relationships takes time. Just as with a romantic relationship, or a friendship, you’ll need to play the long game and be in it 100%.

Suppose decision-makers inside the company aren’t patient and need results now. In that case, they can’t commit to constantly adapting and keeping up with people’s various and ever-changing needs.

  • C-Levels aren’t committed to customer satisfaction.

It’s understandable why people in upper management would be heavenly focused on revenue and profits without considering customer empathy.

However, customer-centricity comes with several revenue-centric benefits – as mentioned in the previous chapter. 

If your stakeholders aren’t fully committed to customer satisfaction, you can make a case for increased long-term profitability and the cost savings associated with a spike in customer referrals. 

  • Data Scarcity.

A customer-centric approach requires understanding the customer – their needs, pain points, and desires. Then designing a customer journey map that meets all these needs.  

Needless to say, it becomes challenging to gain insights into customers’ behaviors and preferences without sufficient data.

Data scarcity leads to inefficient decisions since you make them without completely understanding your customers. 

  • Misuse of Customer Feedback 

If you aren’t using these insights, there’s little point in collecting customer feedback through surveys and interviews.

If you think about it, talking to your customers is really about getting to the root of what they need from you; it’s the secret to customer retention, and they’re giving you the key.

So treat the customer as a critical decision-maker inside your business. Use his feedback to upgrade and improve your products and processes and ensure everything you do benefits your customers.

  • Lack of cross-departmental communication.

There’s a common plague spreading across companies. And the bigger these companies are, the more damage the epidemic does. 

We’re referring to the need for more communication between departments. It’s more than communication that’s lacking; there’s also an issue with the KPIs they’re following. 

Each department has its own metrics, a definition of success, and an idea of what makes a good company. Without internal alignment, without all teams being united under the same North-Star metric, the customer falls between the cracks.

The Customer Success department ends up being seen as a cost department, only responsible for answering angry customers, instead of a revenue-generating department.

This situation changes when the company rallies under a customer-related metric (our best bet: customer lifetime value). All teams care about customer outcomes, doing their part in creating excellent customer experiences. 

When that happens, coordinating departments function as a well-oiled machine, acquiring and retaining customers left and right.

Best Practices for Becoming Customer-Centric

Becoming customer-centric is simply a matter of putting the customer firstBut how does one achieve it?

Many brands believe they’re focusing on the customers, yet the reality of their actions disproves this belief. One example of such a brand is Nokia – releasing new products quarterly, yet not managing to create products that people actually want. 

To ease your process, we’re returning to the classics. In this case, we’ll look at the four Cs of customer-centric marketing, coined by Bob Lauterborn in 1980: 

  1. Consumer wants and needs
  2. Cost to satisfy
  3. Convenience to buy 
  4. Communication

Let’s take a look at each C in the framework. 

  • Consumer wants and needs.

You should regularly collect and analyze customer data to avoid guessing or creating products and experiences no one wants. 

This means looking at metrics such as customer behaviors and demographics, buying habits, RFM segmentation, pain points customers encounter, and conversations with the Customer Success teams and using all these in understanding customers’ expectations from you.

At the same time, look at your product data to identify best-selling products, toxic products, products with high return rates, or products that are never bought. 

You must also continuously gather and analyze customer feedback and utilize customer insights.

Send Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys pre- and post-delivery, or CSAT surveys, to uncover improvement opportunities and continuously update your products and processes. 

Simply put, the first C is all about talking to your customerswatching their behaviors, then anticipating and delivering what they need.

  • Cost to satisfy.

This one is obvious. Customers need to feel they’re getting enough value for their spending. 

Even if you can’t afford to lower your prices, you can create bundle offers, special discounts for high-valued customers, tier-based loyalty programs, or include other benefits such as free shipping or tiered gifts to increase the perceived value of your products

Remember – people are willing to pay more if the experience is worth it, so pay attention to the customer experience.

  • Convenience to buy.

Invest in CRO practices and A/B test your checkout page to ensure the purchase experience is seamless and straightforward to meet this objective. 

You can also consider your payment options and ensure they’re flexible enough so customers aren’t discouraged from purchasing higher-priced items. 

At the same time, personalize the customer experience for the complete customer journey. This includes curated recommendations, tailored content, and even customer service interactions.

  • Communication

This point is two-fold. 

On the one hand, you need to foster strong communication and collaboration between your departments.

Customer-centricity is more than just a one-person job. All processes should revolve around creating unforgettable experiences and keeping your customers engaged – from marketing to finance and logistics.

A customer-centric culture is one where every employee understands the importance of meeting customer needs, so all departments must collaborate for this goal. 

On the other hand, you must also establish clear communication channels for your customers. Whether on Social Media, via email, or by phone, your customers should always find it easy to talk with you. 

So, invest in solid customer success teams with the bandwidth to communicate with your customers and quickly solve their problems. 

You can achieve this through training and incentives, as well as setting clear goals and expectations for customer service.

Unconventional Ideas for Your Customer-Centricity Journey

Even if customer-centricity is a serious subject and shouldn’t be taken lightly, having fun with the process is essential. To that end, we’ve rallied our creative teams to devise unconventional ideas for you to try in your journey toward customer-centricity.

  • Create a customer advisory board to get direct feedback from your most loyal customers. In other words: let customers weigh in on your business decisions.
  • Implement a “reverse mentoring” program. Younger or newer employees could mentor senior leaders on how to serve customers better. 

One famous example of an idea generated by this type of program is the “self-checkout boxes.” They were demanded by young millennials who didn’t have the patience to wait around all day for the delivery of their orders.

  • Use AI to create immersive product demos or experiences for customers.
  • Host a Customer Appreciation Day. Invite your power customers to the event to meet employees, tour facilities, and give feedback directly to company leadership.
  • Partner with a charitable organization to show commitment to your customers’ values and priorities.
  • Use Social Media to ask for customer feedback on new initiatives.

Wrap Up

As you can see, customer-centricity isn’t a buzzword. 

In reality, customer-centricity is one of the few marketing approaches that has stood the test of time, being the cornerstone of unlocking growth and success.

Make the customer the focal point of everything you do, and enjoy a loyal following that will not only skyrocket your revenue but also set you apart in an overly-crowded industry.

Remember: prioritizing your customer means prioritizing your success.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions about Customer-Centricity

What is customer centricity with example?


Customer-centricity refers to placing the needs and preferences of customers at the center of all your decision-making processes. For example, a company that is customer-centric will regularly gather and analyze customer feedback to identify improvement areas and continuously update its products and services.

What are the key 4 steps on customer centricity?


Gathering and analyzing customer data, fostering strong communication and collaboration across departments, creating a customer-focused culture, and continuously gathering and analyzing customer feedback.

What are the key elements of customer centricity?


Understanding and meeting the unique needs and preferences of customers, gathering and analyzing customer data, strong communication and collaboration across departments, the ability to adapt and evolve based on customer feedback, and personalization of the customer experience.

What are the 3 benefits of customer centricity?


Some key benefits include: increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased sales and revenue, and reduced customer churn.