Customer-focused companies present a unique dilemma for entrepreneurs. They have a slow setup, but they are likely to gain traction over the years and grow extremely profitable. Indeed, despite the slow start, customer-focused companies tend to win in the end. Creating a structure that puts customers first is hard work, as it starts with your team.
Why would employees go above and beyond for customers? Some employers may argue that it is essentially what the job is about. Yet, the reality is more complex than that. A customer-orientated business begins with a strong people focus. When employees are cared for, they are in a better position to care for the customers too. Getting the team invested begins with investing in the team first. Only then can you get into the head of your customers to serve them better.
But what do your customers expect?
Building a special relationship with your customers is not just about delivering top-quality products or services. It is about going above and beyond to thank them for their business through a customer loyalty program that rewards them. Bringing more value in the shape of unique benefits that only loyal customers receive can create a much closer and more valuable relationship. Whether you opt for invitations to luxury events, unique business intelligence, everyday advantages such as travel bonuses, or even gifts may not necessarily matter. Customers appreciate that not every company can yet afford to offer a free suite in a luxury boutique hotel. Yet, they want to know that their loyalty is rewarded compared to lesser loyal customers.
How many emails have you received that started with the words “Dear customer” or something along the same lines? The answer is too many. Thankfully, the delete button is conveniently placed. Why do we erase communication that doesn't address us personally? Because, like the majority of customers, we expect companies to value us as an individual. Over three-quarters of customers feel frustrated when they don't receive personalised interactions. Personalisation can make customers feel valued and appreciated, as it is designed to match their behaviours, their needs, and their milestones.
Businesses can get things wrong. Customers are prone to share their experiences through feedback, tweets, or even emails. Sometimes, the experience is negative, or it can be positive. Yet, from a customer's perspective, the feedback is an attempt to explain how the interaction has affected them. Therefore, failure to reply can have dramatic consequences. Acknowledging the communication is essential to let the customer know their input matters.
There is nothing more frustrating than making an appointment, arriving on time, and being made to wait. It can be irritating for customers when they notice that not everyone has to wait. Perhaps, VIP clients can come in without pre-booking appointments and see someone. When your customers notice obvious discrepancies in the treatment, they are likely to take their business to a competitor.
What does it mean to have a customer-focused business? Essentially, there is no strict answer. A business that makes customers feel valued, delivers extra value, provides fair customer treatment to all, and goes the extra mile to show understanding is more likely to build a profitable, long-lasting, and mutually beneficial relationship with its audience.