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All about customer centricity

Today, the customer is much more than king. As brand ambassadors, they are the focus of customer-centric corporate strategies and at the beginning of the value chain. To get to know customers better, companies rely on data-driven personas.

Personas give data a face

Groceries, food or a new job: if you need something, you can look for it and find it on the Internet these days. Shopping in Europe 74 percent of internet users regularly shop online, 91 percent of job applicants from Germany from Germany start their search on the World Wide Web. As a company or retailer, there is no personal contact; customers remain anonymous behind their screens. Despite this, business strategies are geared entirely towards the needs of these supposed strangers in terms of customer centricity. data-driven personas helps to get to know these customers better.

What does customer centricity mean?

Customer centricity is a business strategy that focuses on customer needs and the customer experience at the beginning of the value chain. Companies that focus on this philosophy align their products, services and processes specifically with the wishes and expectations, as well as the benefits and feedback of their customers and employees - they develop solutions and experiences (customer or employee experience) instead of profitable sales opportunities.

The aim of customer centricity management is to build a long-term and positive customer and employee relationship in order to actively retain customers and employees (customer lifecycle). By understanding people's needs, responding to them and offering an outstanding experience, they should not only become brand fans, but also brand ambassadors for other customers and applicants (customer empowerment).

The participative approach of customer centricity goes beyond the pure sales process and encompasses all points of interaction between companies and customers in order to create all-round satisfaction and promote customer loyalty. Instead of companies asking themselves what sells well, they are interested in what customers would like to have. This also includes satisfied and motivated employees: in a networked world, we are aware of the interdependence of employee experience (employee satisfaction and experience) and customer experience.

Customer centricity: a promising strategy

The strategy is successful: according to studies customer-centric companies are 60 percent more profitable than their product-centered competitors. Studies have shown that the turnover turnover and market value of customer-centric companies grows fasterthan their competitors and the market as a whole. It is not only the big players, such as Amazon or Nike, that have been focusing on customer satisfaction for several years and have been able to increase their market value by eight percent or more despite high costs. quadruple their market value despite high costs. Numerous smaller providers have also become successful thanks to a consistently customer-oriented strategy.

A brief history of customer centricity

The customer centricity approach is not a fundamentally new idea: as early as the 1950s, the science that it is the customer who decides what a company is, what it produces and whether it will flourish. Even then, there was a consensus that what people really wanted was not products, but satisfying experiences. However, it was not until the 1990s that the concept gained relevance in marketing under the term market orientation. The focus shifted to understanding and providing added value for individual customers and not for the mass market, making the collection and availability of individual customer data more important.

However, the biggest shift from a product- and supply-centric to a customer-centric company orientation has been observed in recent years. Digital technologies are responsible for this paradigm shift, offering manufacturers and retailers of all sizes and from all sectors easy access to consumers.

The customer is online

Digitalization makes it possible: almost every shopping process now starts online, from research to completion. Customers are now used to being able to start their shopping experience at any time and any place without any complications and have their order delivered within a short time. Long waiting times (be it for a parcel, a cab or a response to an application), lengthy online payment processes or cash payments are annoyances that can have a negative impact on the customer experience and disrupt customer loyalty. It is therefore important for customer-centricity companies to know their customers' expectations and offer corresponding services in order to remain or become a relevant provider.

Numerous studies have shown the importance of the customer experience. A very good customer experience increases increases sales and customer loyalty while also reducing costs. In addition, price becomes less important when the overall experience is right: Customers pay up to 16 percent higher pricesif they are impressed by the customer experience. Factors such as delivery speed, functionality of the online store, product availability, choice of return options and trust have a significant influence on the purchase decision.

Candidate centricity in recruiting

But customer centricity doesn't just play a role when it comes to consumer goods - companies also rely on customer centricity, or rather candidate centricity and an employee experience, when recruiting employees: (future) employees become customers to whom the company's human resources team "sells" the employer by building a good overall relationship. From the job advertisement to the application to a motivated employee, everything works like the customer journey in retail: the focus is on people's needs, to which internal processes are aligned.

data-driven personas provide answers

Customer-centricity companies therefore need to know their customers inside out. Who are these people who are looking for a product or a job online? What problems do they want to solve, what needs do they want to satisfy? What kind of experience are customers looking for when shopping, using a product or contacting customer service? data-driven personas provide answers to these questions.

With the help of data-based personas, companies gain insights into their target group that have nothing to do with a gut feeling, but with representative data. By evaluating comprehensive information about behavior, needs, demographics and other relevant characteristics, the persona describes a typical customer or user of the actual target group. This helps companies of all kinds to better understand their customers and employees in order to make strategic decisions based on sound information.

Knowledge of the personas can optimize the customer and candidate journey right from the start, as the customer's touchpoints and pain points are systematically identified. Precise knowledge of needs and expectations leads to performance campaigns without wastage in the short term, as well as faster and better leads. In the long term, data-based knowledge about the target group generates an increase in sales and more and more suitable applicants for HR.

Ultimately, data-driven personas gives customers and applicants a face in an extremely connected world. This allows customer-centric companies to actively engage them and create experiences that are tailored to their needs - transforming them from customer to king and ultimately to brand ambassador.

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