How to make your small business more customer centric

Customer centricity is a “new” buzzword being widely used. It is essentially the same as older terms like “customer-focused” or “market-driven,” but there are some subtle differences that are important to understand for small businesses.

This article will explain the practical meaning of the term and where small business owners can take advantage of adopting a customer-centric approach.

Summary: Customer centricity isn’t just an old idea with a fancy new coat. It is a meaningful shift in business alignment to truly have marketing and operations efforts put your customer in the center of its design.

What is a customer?

Most everyone has heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” We tend to reject this due to its technical impossibility, but no business can ignore that:

  1. Businesses exist because of customers
  2. Businesses exist to create customers

So, how wrong can your customer really be?

Therein lies the emphasis – your customer. Unless you are Amazon, Google, or Facebook, your customer is not every possible living person. So don’t use them as your examples, don’t use their models of customer acquisition as your own, and don’t orient your marketing and operations around every possible living person.

Instead, obsessively serve and provide value to your customer.

Customer centric, not focused

A change in one word can make a big difference. You are not “focused” on your customer, as this conveys that your customer is situated within an array of business focuses. Now, of course this is true. But thoughts and business vision statements lead to actions, behavior, and character… How do you think you and your business appear to customers if you give off the attitude that they are “of general importance.”

It’s also not right to say that your customer is your #1 priority. What does this convey? That your customer is in competition with #2? Again, slogans become character, so choose words wisely.

Centric is an outstanding word. Your customer is the center of your business. That conveys the right message. Imagine how you would feel if a business had this attitude towards you?

We can try it right now.

ET Consulting is wholly dedicated to making small and family-owned businesses more competitive and stable through web design, marketing, and advisory. All our work, research, and expertise serve the needs of small businesses.

Could this be better? Yes. Always. And that’s the point.

If you’re a small business owner, tell me, and we’ll improve. Because our operations hinge on the needs and interests of small businesses.

Putting customer centricity to work for you

Being customer centric means you are putting the customer in the center of your business – from marketing to operations.

Everything you communicate is about what your customer wants to hear.

Everything you do is about what your customer wants to receive in a product or service.

Every complaint is seen as an opportunity to improve.

Every customer interaction is seen as an opportunity to not just satisfy, but delight your customer.

But the day to day grind of business starts to push all customer into numbers, all products into SKUs, inventory costs, and profit margins, and all complaints or reviews as ticking timebombs.

Your staff learns to avoid mistakes at all costs, rather than excel in service however possible.

Your products or services stagnate, as they become just a financial commentary, rather than a passion for value, and increasing value.

And your customers see – everything.

Need help creating a customer centric culture in your business?

You probably don’t need our help because you know your customer. We all just need a reminder to adopt the right ethos and attitude.

But if you’re looking for helping to take this a bit further, let us know.

We’re obsessed with small businesses. So if you’re a small business owner, we’d be eager to become obsessed with your customer as well, and to help you implement your own customer centric approach.