When it comes to business, the customer is always right. This age-old adage still holds true today, which is why having a solid customer orientation strategy is essential for any company that wants to succeed.
I remember when I was first starting in business, I didn’t understand the importance of this concept. I thought that as long as my products were good and my prices were competitive, customers would keep coming back. But I quickly learned that there’s much more to it than that.
Creating a customer-centric culture within your organization is key to keeping people happy and engaged with your brand. It’s not enough just to have great products or services – you need to make sure your customers feel valued and appreciated every step of the way.
Here are some tips on how you can create a strong customer orientation strategy.
What is a Customer Orientation Strategy?
A customer orientation strategy is a strategic approach that focuses on providing customers with what they want and need.
This type of strategy is based on the belief that if customers are happy, they will continue to do business with the company and recommend it to others.
A customer-oriented business puts the needs of its customers first.
Many companies focus on increasing profit, cutting costs, and lowering churn. However, customer orientation puts the focus on understanding the customer’s goals and helping them to achieve those goals with the company’s product.
This approach drives up important business metrics in the long run.
Customer orientation says customer first (truly) while all other variables are adjusted based on that.
A customer-centric approach to your marketing efforts means putting your customer first and meeting them where they are at in their journey.
It’s not a campaign that you run for a while that will bring you short-term traffic or subscribers. It’s not copying what has worked for competitors and hoping it will work for you too.
It’s not just about selling to people and shoving products down their throats.
A customer-oriented marketing strategy takes into account the needs and behaviors of customers when crafting its approach. This type of strategy can be very effective in connecting with and converting potential customers.
Take Ahrefs for example.
They focused on creating customer-focused strategies, such as advertising in industry-specific publications, doing joint promotions with other software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, and answering common questions their customers had. This focus led to tangible benefits.
It was when they focused on a content marketing strategy that answered the questions their target audience was asking while showing how their products could solve them that they saw a real increase in sales.
Why is Customer Orientation Important for SaaS Companies?
If your customers don’t like or have any positive associations with your company, you are less likely to build long-term relationships with them. This will result in higher customer turnover rates.
This is why focusing on giving them the best customer experience, and support, and ensuring customer satisfaction is important.
Here are more reasons why your B2B company needs to adopt a more customer-focused marketing strategy.
Enhances Customer Experience
In a sea of sameness, how do you convince customers to buy from you? It starts with customer-oriented marketing that enhances the customer experience.
Customers don’t care about marketing that broadcasts the same message to everyone. They care about how you help them solve their problem.
A customer-focused marketing strategy focuses on understanding your customer’s pain points and helping them find a solution. By focusing on your customers’ needs, you can increase customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Showing your customers that you care by solving their problems with your product or service is a great way to build brand loyalty.
Act on Feedback Effectively
It’s one thing to collect user feedback, and another thing to act on it.
A customer-centric approach requires you to not only collect feedback but also act on the data you receive. This way, you can ensure that your customers’ needs are always being met.
Sometimes customers find certain features to be difficult or complex. They may not realize that a feature is relevant or useful to them.
The feedback you receive from customers can help improve their experience by uncovering areas where your product needs improvement. Use this data to prioritize the changes and improvements that need to be made to enhance customer satisfaction.
Customers often ask for new features, and it’s often hard to prioritize them. However, sometimes it’s worth prioritizing them, especially if they will bring value to your customers.
6 Elements of a Customer-Oriented Strategy
When an organization’s operations revolve around the customer, it will naturally create value for the customer. This, in turn, will lead to long-term relationships.
A business with excellent customer service typically has these six characteristics.
1. The Customer is a Priority
A customer-centric business understands that the best way to achieve its goals is by putting its customers’ needs first. This means making sure that customers are always a priority, no matter what the goal may be. By doing this, businesses can create long-term relationships with their customers and ensure profitability.
A 2014 study by consulting firm, Deloitte, found that companies prioritizing customer experience are 60% more profitable than companies that do not.
2. The Customer is a Priority at Every Level of Business
A customer-centric business understands that every level of the organization needs to be focused on the customer experience. This means that everyone from the CEO to the entry-level employees needs to be thinking about how they can improve the customer experience. By making sure that customer orientation is embedded at every level, a business can create a truly customer-centric culture.
3. Customer-Centric Philosophy from The Top Down
To develop an effective leadership initiative, businesses must analyze market trends, competitive activity, and customer needs before establishing goals.
4. Empathy is Free-Flowing
Empathetic customer service is a critical component of providing good customer experiences. Even simple things like saying “thank you” or “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward making your customers feel like you value them.
Thanking customers for their patience and apologizing for delays shows that you value your customers and are willing to go the extra mile to make them feel valued. This type of customer service orientation will always result in consistent interactions.
5. Interactions Are Consistent
Customers today often interact with a company across several different mediums. According to research from Forrester, 95% of shoppers will switch between 3 or more different communication methods when engaging with a business.
A customer-oriented business will have a communication strategy that is consistent across all channels and easy for the customer to use. There should be no confusion or frustration when interacting with the company, regardless of the channel used. The customer’s experience should be easy and painless from start to finish.
6. Customer Experience is Easy and Painless
A customer-centric business is centered around the customer. This can be seen through offering fast service, easy self-service, and a quick response rate. The goal is to make the experience as smooth and seamless for your customers as possible.
The business is focused around providing customers with a frictionless experience.
Why is Customer Orientation Important?
Customer orientation doesn’t just affect how customers view your business, it affects how your entire organization functions.
When company leaders and employees have a shared goal of maximizing customer satisfaction, the workflow becomes more streamlined and efficient. This creates a better experience for customers and helps to improve business operations.
Acquiring a new customer can be 5 times as expensive as keeping an existing client.
Customer-centric companies outperform their competitors by focusing more on their customers’ needs. This loyalty results in greater profits.
Happy customers are more likely to recommend you to others, which is more cost-effective than other forms of advertising.
A company that’s focused on customer experience can beat out the competition simply by delivering a better overall service.
In the current competitive market, companies must provide a great experience for their customers. Understanding customer needs and being willing to invest in providing a better experience are key ways to set your company apart from the competition.
Customer-oriented businesses provide:
- A clear focus for both leaders and employees for higher productivity.
- A loyal customer base
- Higher profitability and growth
- An inexpensive marketing alternative
- A competitive edge
10 Steps to Become Customer Oriented
1. Create a Customer Value Proposition (CVP)
At your board meetings, decide the total sum of benefits that you’ll offer your customers in exchange for their loyalty to you.
2. Hire Sociable People
Look for candidates with empathy, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.
3. Treat Your Employees Right
How employees feel about their job has a bigger effect on how they interact with your customers than any amount of customer service or sales skills training will.
4. Train Your Team Well
All employees, both front- and back-end, should learn as much as possible about the customer, the product, and the industry they work in. This should include training on communication, team building, and other interpersonal skills.
5. Be Consistent
Servant leaders should actively participate in the customer experience process and be on the front lines. Those companies that value a company culture that prioritizes serving others will excel in providing excellent customer service.
6. Implement a CORE Program
CORE is an acronym for Customer Orientation, Referencing, and Engagement. In this training program, employees from all departments focus on customer behaviors and needs, in addition to any departmental procedures and processes.
An organization’s customer profiles are built around its customers’ needs and the organization builds its practices around these needs.
7. Listen to The Voice of Your Customer (VOC)
An honest and objective assessment of how you are doing in the eyes of your consumers is essential to the continued success of your business. This can be accomplished through formal surveys or by simply recording customer feedback.
8. Set Your Rules
By listening to customer feedback, you can gauge how well you’re meeting customer expectations. A balanced scorecard will help you measure performance, and allow you to fix any weaknesses.
9. Empower Your People
Make sure all members of your team have the authority to resolve most customer service issues without escalating them to supervisors.
10. Organize Your Activities
Encourage collaboration between departments and teams.
With a clear vision and a solid plan of action, you can ensure that your business remains competitive despite the current economic climate.
The Berlitz Language School is a great example of a company that emphasizes customer service.
Other companies like Ritz-Carlton, Southwest Airlines, and Disney are also good examples of companies that put the customer first.
A well-executed customer orientation approach can lead to more sales, higher profitability, and a sustainable competitive edge.
A customer orientation strategy is essential for any company that wants to succeed. By creating a customer-centric culture within your organization, you can keep people happy and engaged with your brand. Use the tips in this blog post to help you create a strong customer orientation strategy of your own!