Most business owners would like to think of their enterprise as customer-focused. After all, a business develops a product or service for the consumer.
But being customer-focused is more than just creating a minimum viable product and then broadly working towards customer service to manage frustrations or answer questions. It considers the customer at every juncture and works proactively to ensure that consumers feel empowered, trusting, heard, and accommodated.
In this post, let’s take a closer look at what it really means to be customer-focused. Measure your own business against these benchmarks to determine if you have areas that need improving.
You’re in the Customer Empowerment Business
Let’s begin by outlining the critical differences between “customer service” and “customer empowerment.”
Customer service is mainly a remedial effort. It is intended to retroactively please customers who are frustrated with your service or have questions unanswered by your marketing efforts. In some cases, it may also involve greeting, pleasing, and helping customers before they choose your product/service.
Customer empowerment, on the other hand, is a holistic approach to customer success. It seeks to give customers the choices, resources, answers, and information they need to make great choices in the first place.
In other words, it shifts power to the consumers. That can be a scary prospect for some business owners, but it pays off – empowered customers tend to be more loyal and retentive, recommending your business to others.
Your Company Is Accountable and Transparent
Part of being customer-focused is building trust. Consumers want to know that they can rely on your business, to be honest, open, and forthcoming about everything from pricing structure to materials, business practices, and corporate values.
Recently, Medium asked Nobul CEO Regan McGee how he would bring the most amount of good to people. The real estate digital marketplace innovator was candid in his answer: “We’re helping bring more transparency, credibility, and accountability to the single biggest transaction of people’s lives.”
You Don’t Just Solicit Feedback – You Use It
Too often, companies solicit feedback as a marketing strategy. They want consumers to feel like they have a voice, but they don’t really want to listen.
This is an unfortunate missed opportunity. Don’t just solicit feedback from customers – use that feedback. Customer feedback in the form of surveys, online reviews, social media mentions, etc., constitutes a powerful data set. These reams of data give you a bird’s eye view of your consumers’ wants, dislikes, sources of friction, and motivations. Use them to ensure that every facet of your organization is focused on empowering and nurturing your customers.
To summarize, customer-focused businesses empower consumers, prioritize transparency and accountability, and leverage feedback for consumer insights. Let’s leave the last word to Regan McGee, who sums it up neatly in his aforementioned medium article: “Focus on the consumer. There is plenty of money for everybody. If you focus on the consumer, you could wake up knowing that you are doing good for the world.” And maybe that’s the real bottom line.
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