How Modern Business Winners Outcompete: Customer-Centricity & User Insight


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Today, customer-centricity is an idea that’s used by successful companies all over the world. The idea that people are not just passive recipients of a service but are instead active participants with the agency to make rational choices and hold valuable opinions has become even more pertinent in the modern business world that holds large quantities of data. It has even revolutionized how some companies, big and small, do business. Companies like Amazon have radically taken up the clarion call of customer-centric innovation over the last two decades.

Customer-centricity: the Customer Always Matters

Customer-centricity refers to putting the customer at the epicenter of your business’s mission. This could involve providing superb customer service, both before and after they’ve made a purchase. It could also mean offering greater personalization and high-value experiences throughout your company, from check-out to customer care. Many organizations are putting this at the heart of everything they do: from marketing and sales to operations, logistics, and customer service to really create an excellent customer experience.

There are clear benefits to being customer-centric. It increases the likelihood of someone remaining a loyal customer by coming back, having a positive view of your brand, and spreading the good word about you to friends, family, and colleagues. The best kind of publicity.

It’s also what’s expected by modern consumers. A report by Salesforce found that 92% of respondents said that a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase. 71% of respondents also said they’ve made purchase decisions based on customer service quality in the past. What’s more, 66% of customers expected brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. Its benefits to businesses, therefore, are obvious.

A good example of a customer-centric business is Zappos. Zappos was a clothing retailer that offered excellent customer service. Its combination of free shipping, competitive pricing, and no-questions-asked returns represented a seamless eCommerce shopping experience in the 2000s. It was so good, in fact, that Amazon bought Zappos in 2009 to learn and imitate their customer-centric business model.

Being Customer-Centric, Gaining Insight

Being a customer-centric organization comes with a need for user insight. Insight into what users think, want, and expect is crucial to be able to provide the kind of service that customer-centric organizations aspire to. This involves research that uses quantitative and qualitative data to understand the demands of all customers.

An excellent way to do this is understanding, both on a personal and organizational level, the importance of having methodological, structured, and scientifically rigorous research on hand to glean valuable insights about what customers and users want. In most companies, that can be fulfilled by having a dedicated user researcher or user research team who can provide regular, practical insights. They can then pass those kernels of wisdom on to the relevant departments effectively.

An added benefit of having teams dedicated to providing insights is it allows high-quality, rigorous findings to be disseminated to all members of an organization easily. This allows everyone to be kept up to date with a companies’ customer-centric goals and aspirations. It can even help instill a customer-centric culture, by showing all employees what customer-centricity actually looks like within a dedicated organization and letting everyone know it.

Backed By Insight

Customer-centricity is all about providing services that the customer wants. But what the customer wants, expects, or feels about a brand is always changing, just like a business. By embedding an insights-first culture into your organization, and having space dedicated to finding, using, and disseminating good quality research, it’s possible to aid and perfect your organization’s quest to become a customer-centric enterprise. It’s one thing to say “we’re going to be customer-centric”. Being customer-centric backed by insight is quite another.

Michael Bamberger
Michael Bamberger is the Founder & CEO of Tetra Insights, a research technology company based in Boulder. He has over a decade of experience working on product development, research, and data initiatives for leading global brands. Michael is a graduate of Dartmouth College and currently lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and two sons.


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