How to build a Customer-Centric brand

Annette Franz

March 11, 20247 min read

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Step into the world of contact centers with Annette Franz, CX visionary. Journey through the complexities of Customer-Centric vs. Brand-Driven dynamics, gaining profound insights into operational excellence and crafting unparalleled customer experiences. 

Think about your company’s operations for a minute. What do they revolve around? What’s the most critical component at the heart of the business? Is it product? Sales? Customers? Employees? Profit? The brand? 

“A company can operate in many ways based on what is at the center of the business. Still, the most important thing to remember is who you’re in business and why you’re in business: the customer.

In today’s article, I’ll cover two centricities: customer-centric and brand-centric. Specifically, I’ll focus on how they impact operations in the contact center, and which is the best approach for your business.

Let’s start with some definitions. 

Table of Contents

What is Customer-Centricity?

Customer-centric organizations operate with the customer at the heart of everything they do.

There are no discussions, decisions, or designs without bringing in the customer’s voice, without asking: How will this impact the customer? How will it make her feel? What problems does it solve for her? What value will it add? 

In a nutshell, the organization works to understand customers, i.e., who they are, their needs, their expectations, the problems they need to solve, and the jobs they’re trying to do. That information is factored into how products and services are designed to ensure that the brand finds products for customers and solves problems for them rather than finding customers for their products, which may or may not be a fit for them.

What is Brand-Centricity?

Brand-centric organizations prioritize the brand and ensure that the brand and its identity are at the heart of everything the business does. The focus is on solid brand identity and building brand equity, brand reputation, and brand loyalty through consistent messaging, visual identity, and brand experiences.

In a nutshell, brand-centric organizations make sure that they do everything with the brand in mind: there’s no off-brand messaging; the brand reputation among customers and the marketplace is critical; the visual representation of the brand is consistent across the board; competitors and how the brand aligns or is perceived relative to the competition are a focus; and building a strong emotional connection with customers is critical to success. 

How They Impact Contact Center Operations

As you read the definitions above, you probably already thought about your contact center operations and how one may benefit the business and customers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, according to some. I only see advantages to being customer-centric, not brand-centric. 


If you’re putting the customer at the heart of your contact center operations; you’re using customer feedback and customer data gathered through conversations and/or previous interactions or transactions to deliver a positive experience that is personalized to the individual. When customers have a great experience, they will tell others, continue to do business with your brand and buy more. You’ll experience increased customer lifetime value and reduced customer churn. Notably, happy customers are also inclined to become part of your online communities and help other customers by answering questions and solving problems for you.

Contrast that with focusing on ensuring the brand, the brand’s identity and messaging, and the value the brand delivers are lived and communicated during contact center interactions. The focus is not on trying to understand individual customers' needs and requirements – instead, on what they want customers to feel and believe about the brand – making this operation more cost-effective. Brand-centric contact centers ensure the brand identity remains strong by reinforcing the brand identity and the value of the brand, differentiating the company from competitors, and keeping the brand reputation intact to raise the brand’s perception among customers and the marketplace.


Brand-centric operations don’t focus on understanding the customer and her needs and the jobs to be done; instead, they tell customers what they want them to know about the brand.

It’s often considered tone-deaf, ego-centric, or self-centered. Imagine a customer reaching out to your contact center, and the agent on the call constantly inserting brand messaging into answers and solutions. It would be frustrating for the customer, who wants to be heard and valued – not sold to.

Some have said being customer-centric is costly, reduces efficiencies, and even sets unrealistic customer expectations. Here’s the thing: when you take the time to understand your customers and deliver the experience they expect, you’re working smarter, not harder. Your operations become more consistent, more efficient, and more effective. If the organization is customer-centric – and you’re co-creating with customers and designing and delivering the experience they expect – imagine how that could reduce the contact center’s load.

Which One is the Best Fit for Your Contact Center?

If you’re not taking care of your customers and their needs, why should they continue to do business with your brand if all they hear is you talking about yourself and ensuring your agents stay on message?   

“The best approach for any business is to be customer-centric. Remembering that your company is in business for and because of your customers is critical to success, with success looking like this: satisfied and loyal customers who tell others, help others, and continue to purchase or buy more.

Know that your business can be customer-driven while still living the brand; the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  

  1. Start with a deep understanding of customer needs and expectations, ensuring that customer-centricity remains at the core of operations.

  2. Train and empower contact center agents to embody the brand's values and personality while solving problems and interacting with customers. 

  3. Ask for customer feedback and use data-driven insights to enhance customer experiences and brand messaging. 

  4. Prioritize the employee experience; well-trained, empowered, empathetic agents are better equipped to adapt to individual customer needs and deliver exceptional customer service while living the brand. 

  5. Remain flexible and adaptable to market changes and customer preferences while staying true to the brand's core identity. 

  6. Ensure employees live the core values, including customer-driven behaviors and outcomes. 

Ultimately, the customer should be at the heart of the business; staying on brand can still be incorporated into customer interactions, but that shouldn’t be the driving force in the contact center. The customer and the customer experience are.   

Find a balance: your contact center can solve problems, build strong customer relationships, foster brand loyalty, and deliver memorable experiences while staying true to the brand identity. It just doesn’t have to be blatant brand overtones while forgetting to empathize or personalize for the person in front of you.  

What Will It Require to Implement?  

Designing a customer-centric organization begins at the top. It is deliberately designed to be so; business operations must put customers’ best interests at the heart of the business, at the center of everything the business does.   Two primary factors must be in play to design a customer-centric organization. By the way, I’m now talking about the entire organization because being customer-centric doesn’t just happen in one department or one aspect of the business. It flows through the DNA of the entire organization. 

 As such, the two critical components are:   

1. Culture:  

Culture = core values + behaviors. Ensure you’ve defined, socialized, and operationalized the core values, acceptable behaviors, and intended or desired outcomes. When you operationalize the core values, you’ll be hiring, evaluating, promoting, and firing employees through the lens of the values. You’ll also make decisions and design policies and processes through those values. Be sure to include customer-driven values or values that have customer-driven behaviors to ensure they become the foundation for a customer-centric culture.  

2. Leadership: 

Culture is deliberately designed from the top down. The leadership team must be committed to developing and living a customer-centric culture, and the entire crew must be aligned with the decision to do so. Building and sustaining such a culture will be challenging without commitment and alignment. Remember that this type of culture must be enterprise-wide so that customers have a consistent experience from person to person, department to department, or channel to channel without feeling like they are interacting with multiple companies.  

Ensuring that your contact center lives the customer-centric values and puts customers at the heart of every discussion or decision within the contact center – aligning with the rest of your organization – means that you’ll be working more efficiently and effectively because you understand customers and their needs, preferences, and expectations, giving you the advantage and putting you ahead of many of your competitors who prefer to do everything through the brand lens and haven’t yet achieved this level of excellence in their operations. A company can operate in many ways based on what is at the center of the business. Still, the most important thing to remember is who you’re in business and why you’re in business: the customer.  

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