Too often businesses don’t think of the end user – their customer – when they develop a business strategy. Multiple moving parts, development delays, reduced timelines and scope creep often result in corners get cut to meet deadlines. Often these cut corners impact the customer as QA and User Testing time get reduced to meet launch deadlines. Taking a Customer-centric design approach can help you to understand, attract and maintain your customers. Customer-centric design is a process in which designers analyze and think through how customers will use their product. When you focus on a positive customer experience before you sell your product, you are more likely to have loyal, repeat customers – and long-term products.
What is a customer-centric business?
Becoming a customer-centric business is much more than excellent customer service. It means that you must provide your customers with a great experience from the stage of awareness through the post-purchase process. Putting your customer first is the core of your business strategy. This often requires a mindset change to kickstart the strategic, operational and tactical changes that are required.
How can I understand my customers?
Walk a mile in their shoes. Not literally (unless you are a shoe store). You can save a lot of time and frustration simply thinking about how your business decisions affect your customers. Take time to do user testing, solicit customer feedback thru surveys, Customer Service reports and emails. The info you receive will help you create better ad design and marketing communication to speak more accurately to your customers.
What data can you compile to help you to serve your customers better?
When you choose people over profits and make customers the core of your business focus, you can gain a wealth of data. Some data you can compile includes buying behaviors, buyer interests, engagement with your brand or product, opportunities to develop products or services, the lifetime value of customer segment.
Be your own customer. Test out new customer onboarding, sign up to your email and you’re your customer service. Test the user journey from your advertising thru to your sign up completion process. How do your email templates look? Is the advertising messaging correct at the right time? Is your newsletter design on brand? Does your auto responder work? Are you showing the right images and calls to action? When interacting with your products or services as your customer would you get valuable info even if you do this frequently. Get management to do this at least 1x per quarter for optimal feedback. Ensuring a good customer experience is common sense, but is also good business sense – customer-centric businesses have higher profits.
What are some of the challenges to become a customer-centric business?
When the recession occurred, a shift in power occurred also. Brands lost power as customer gained it. Customers were empowered to make their own spending choices, and the brands that fared well were ones that made customers their focus. Think of brands like Southwest Airlines, for example, that placed its focus on sharing their love for their customers and doing their best to build relationships with their passengers.Social media and mobile advertising had a huge part in developing these relationships. Consumers now have real-time experiences with brands – both negative and positive. Whether it be a display advertisement, a social media post or an online review, brands must be cognizant of the customer perspective. If you organize your business around the needs of your customer, you will be more prepared to respond to those needs and serve them.
What are some customer-centric best practices?
Being a customer-centric organization requires adaptability – you must pay attention to cultural and technological changes that will impact your brand’s message. Always focus on building a brand that develops products, implements processes and policies, and establishes a culture of an excellent customer experience and customer centric graphic design. Here are some best practices to build a customer-centric business:
1) Believe it. When brands are passionate about their customers, customer notice. If you say that the customer comes first, mean it and live it, and ensure that your employees live it too. Your company would not exist without your customers and if your employees do not understand or believe it, you need to help them to exit the organization.
2) Give them what they want. If you build a brand, products and services focused on your customers, your customers will come. Ask for feedback early and often. Customer surveys They want products based on their desires, and if you provide that they will respond.
3) Build relationships. Your customers are more than just a financial transaction. If you help them to establish a relationship with you, your brand, your product and service, they will remain loyal to you. That’s how you develop repeat customers.
4) Commit to your strategy. When businesses devote their strategy to a customer-centric one, they can keep focus. Commitment and focus on the customer-centric strategy is the best way to build and maintain profits – and keep the customer.
Are you successful?
Metrics and data vary by organization, and even the type of customer. A retail customer would not be expected to have the same experience as a medical patient. However, there are two metrics you need to pay attention to churn rate and customer lifetime value (CLV).
Churn rate is also known as turnover. Gaining new customers is challenging. That’s why many businesses will focus on keeping customers rather than trying to find new ones. Attaining a new customer is much more costly than maintaining your existing customer base. If you can retain your customers, you will grow faster as a company. To determine your churn rate, you need to divide the number of customers who left in the past year by the average total customers within that year.
You know that the customer your greatest asset. That’s why you need to determine the value of your customer, or your customer’s lifetime value (CLV). This value measures how much profit your company will make from a customer. To determine CLV, you calculate the average value of the customer’s order and the repeat purchase rate. The CLV helps you to confirm the value of investing in a customer-centric experience.
Establishing a customer-centric business will not require you to completely redirect your strategy, but may require you to re-focus it. You can start with small steps and initiatives that address the needs and wants of your customers to ensure that they are engaged with your business. It is the best way to maintain a customer, and the best way to build your business over time.
If you find your business at a point where you are segmenting your customers and creating specific marketing communications to target each of these customer segments, you may find your graphic design needs have increased significantly. Customized web images and graphics on each landing page, multiple versions of social media banner designs, advertising design variations and more! It can be a lot of extra work to do real quality customer centric targeted advertising. If you are looking for some extra help check out one of our Unlimited Graphic Design packages where you’ll get a predictable flat fee, unlimited design revisions plus a quick 2day turn around.
We look forward to learning how Design Productive can help your business build more Customer-Centric design!