7 steps to develop a customer-centric strategy

Bishakh Dutta

Jayadeep Subhashis

June 13, 20246 min read

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Gone are the days when a superior product or service was the ultimate key to success. In today's dynamic marketplace, customers demand more—much more.  

They yearn for personalized experiences, seamless interactions and the assurance that their unique needs are not just understood but anticipated and addressed proactively.  

To meet these expectations head-on, you must relentlessly focus on the customer and embed customer-centric strategies throughout your operations, from product development to service delivery and support.  

This blog post will provide a comprehensive roadmap, guiding you through each step necessary to develop a robust customer-centric strategy. Let's dive in. 

Table of Contents

What is a customer-centric strategy?

A customer-centric strategy is a business approach that puts customers at the core of all decision-making processes. It entails a granular understanding of customer behavior, preferences and pain points, focusing on tailoring experiences to meet their expectations.  

At its core, a customer-centric strategy involves a deep immersion into the customer experience, primarily facilitated through robust contact center operations. You can tailor your offerings and interactions to meet and exceed customer expectations by actively listening to customer feedback, analyzing behavioral data and anticipating evolving needs.  

Importance of customer-centric strategies 

The significance of adopting a customer-centric strategy cannot be overstated. Whether aiming to foster brand loyalty, enhance customer retention or gain a competitive edge, prioritizing the customer experience through contact center services is paramount for organizational growth.  

Here are several compelling benefits that brands reap when they prioritize customers:

  1. Boosts retention: While customers may initially purchase products or services, their experience determines whether they return. Integrating customer-centricity across every customer touchpoint fosters a strong brand perception, signaling to customers that their needs are valued. This concerted effort reduces customer churn rates and improves retention over time.

  2. Increases customer lifetime value: Satisfaction breeds loyalty and loyal customers are valuable assets. Research suggests that loyal customers are worth up to ten times more than their initial purchase. By consistently delivering exceptional experiences, you can significantly increase customer lifetime value.

  3. Enhances brand reputation: Customer-centric contact centers are pivotal in shaping brand reputations. When customers consistently receive exemplary service and support, they become ambassadors for the brand, sharing positive experiences with others. This word-of-mouth advocacy drives referrals and bolsters brand credibility and trustworthiness. 

Top 5 challenges of becoming a consumer-centric company

While the benefits of embracing a customer-centric approach are clear, the journey toward achieving this goal is not without its challenges. Here are the top five obstacles that you may face:

  • Cultural shift: Transitioning to a customer-centric mindset often requires a significant cultural shift within the organization. It entails moving away from traditional siloed structures and fostering a company-wide commitment to prioritizing the customer experience. Resistance to change and ingrained processes can hinder progress in this regard.

  • Data integration and analysis: Effective customer-centricity relies on the seamless integration and analysis of vast amounts of data from various sources. However, many organizations struggle with fragmented data systems and siloed departments, making it difficult to gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. Furthermore, extracting actionable insights from data requires sophisticated analytics capabilities, which may be lacking. 

  • Resource allocation: Implementing customer-centric strategies often necessitates reallocating resources and investments. This may involve restructuring budgets, reallocating personnel and investing in new technologies and training programs. Limited resources and competing priorities can present challenges in this regard, particularly for organizations with entrenched processes and budget constraints. 

  • Consistency across channels: Delivering a seamless customer experience across multiple contact center channels and touchpoints is essential for customer-centricity. However, ensuring consistency can be challenging if you run with disparate systems and communication channels. Misalignment between online and offline customer service channels, inconsistent messaging and disjointed experiences can erode trust and loyalty among customers. 

  • Measuring success: Quantifying the impact of customer-centric initiatives and measuring success can be elusive for many organizations. While traditional metrics like sales revenue and customer satisfaction scores provide valuable insights, they may not capture the full extent of the customer experience. Identifying and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with broader business goals and customer outcomes is crucial but often complex.

7 Tips to build an effective customer-centric strategy 

To truly embrace customer-centricity, your business must commit across all levels to prioritizing the success and satisfaction of your customers. Here are 7 tips you can follow to consolidate this commitment: 

Tip 1: Predict customer needs 

To truly embody customer-centricity, you must proactively anticipate and meet your customers' evolving needs. Predicting these needs requires a multifaceted approach integrating market research, data analysis and advanced technologies.

Key steps in predicting customer needs include: 

  • Monitoring industry trends: Staying abreast of industry developments and emerging trends allows you to anticipate shifts in customer preferences and adapt their offerings accordingly.

  • Listening to customer feedback: Actively soliciting and analyzing customer feedback provides invaluable insights into pain points, preferences and areas for improvement. This qualitative data complements quantitative analysis, offering a holistic view of customer needs.

  • Tracking website browsing behavior: Utilizing web analytics tools enables you to track user behavior on your website, including page views, click-through rates and navigation patterns. This data helps identify areas of interest and potential purchasing intent.

  • Engaging on social media platforms: Social media platforms serve as rich sources of consumer insights, offering real-time feedback, sentiment analysis and customer engagement metrics. Monitoring social media conversations allows you to identify emerging trends, address customer concerns and engage in proactive outreach. 

By leveraging tools equipped with predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms, you can synthesize these diverse data sources to forecast future customer needs accurately. For example, an e-commerce retailer can utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze browsing history, identify product preferences and anticipate potential purchase decisions.

Tip 2: Implement a seamless onboarding process 

Did you know that over 90% of customers believe companies could improve their onboarding processes?

An effective onboarding process is essential for guiding customers through initial interactions with your product or service. It involves educating customers about key features, providing personalized guidance and addressing common pain points to ensure a smooth transition and maximize customer satisfaction

To implement a seamless onboarding process, consider the following strategies: 

  •  Educate about key features: Provide clear and concise information about your product's key features and functionalities. Use interactive tutorials, videos or walkthroughs to demonstrate how customers can get the most out of your product. 

  • Personalize guidance: Tailor the onboarding experience to each customer's needs and preferences. Use data insights to deliver personalized recommendations, tips and support throughout onboarding.  

  • Address and keep track of common pain points: Anticipate and address common challenges or concerns that customers may encounter during the onboarding process. Provide proactive support and resources to help customers overcome obstacles and achieve their desired outcomes.

💡 Pro tip: If you operate in the B2B domain, assign a dedicated account manager and tailor the onboarding process to each customer's needs and preferences. Consider incorporating multimedia elements such as videos, animations and quizzes. Offer opportunities for hands-on learning and experimentation within your tutorials and onboarding journeys. 

Tip 3: Collect customer feedback 

A comprehensive understanding of customer needs and expectations is foundational to a customer-centric strategy. Collecting customer feedback is vital for obtaining insights directly from the source.

Key strategies for collecting customer feedback include:

  • Utilizing diverse channels: Beyond traditional customer surveys and feedback forms, leverage various channels to capture customer sentiment. Monitor social media platforms, online reviews and community forums to gather real-time customer feedback and insights across diverse digital touchpoints.  
     

  • Studying customer support interactions: Customer interaction analytics offer invaluable opportunities to glean insights into customer pain points, preferences and areas for improvement. Analyze customer inquiries, complaints and feedback from support channels to identify recurring themes and proactively address underlying issues.  
     

  • Leveraging quantitative data: Quantitative data derived from surveys and measurable metrics provides valuable quantitative insights into customer satisfaction levels, product performance and service quality. Utilize this data to track key performance indicators and benchmark performance against established targets.  

  • Employing qualitative methods: In addition to quantitative data, employ qualitative methods such as focus groups, interviews and open-ended survey questions to gain deeper insights into customer needs and preferences. Conducting sentiment analysis using machine learning, statistics and natural language processing (NLP) techniques enables you to uncover underlying sentiments and emotions expressed by customers in their feedback.

Do you know 

Modern omnichannel survey software automatically converts survey questions to a conversation that a chatbot can execute and ask relevant questions to gather feedback. You can run these conversational surveys on 30+ digital and social channels to boost the survey response rate.
 
Ready to Use:  What is Customer Satisfaction Survey [Questions + Template] 

Conversational survey with Sprinklr omnichannel survey software

Tip 4: Personalize customer experience

In today's hyper-connected world, customers expect personalized experiences catering to their preferences and needs. Personalizing the customer experience involves leveraging data and technology to deliver tailored interactions across various touchpoints.  
 
Here's how you can personalize customer experience:  

  • Utilize customer data: Collect and analyze customer data to gain insights into their preferences, behaviors and purchasing patterns. The power of customer data lies in its ability to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your customers, enabling you to build detailed customer profiles and deliver personalized experiences.  
     

  • Implement personalized marketing campaigns: The effectiveness of personalized advertising campaigns is proven. They allow you to tailor messaging, content and offers to align with the interests and preferences of each target audience, increasing the chances of conversion.  
     

  • Deploy product recommendations: Leverage recommendation engines and collaborative filtering algorithms to deliver personalized product recommendations to customers. Analyze past purchase history, browsing behavior and demographic data to suggest relevant products and services, enhancing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.  

  • Deliver targeted communications: Utilize email marketing, SMS campaigns and push notifications to deliver targeted communications to customers based on their preferences and behaviors. Customize messaging, timing and content to maximize customer engagement and drive desired actions.

📌 Action Plan

How to start with omnichannel personalization?  

💻 Centralize customer data: Aggregate data from all touchpoints to create a unified customer profile. 

🎨 Standardize branding: Establish clear brand guidelines for messaging and visuals. 

🤖 Integrate technology: Invest in platforms that enable seamless data sharing and personalized interactions. 

🤹Coordinate across teams: Foster collaboration between departments responsible for different channels. 

📊 Monitor performance: Track KPIs to measure effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. 

Tip 5: Provide proactive resolutions 

If you believe in customer-centricity, proactive resolutions are pivotal. It helps mitigate issues before they escalate and foster positive customer experiences. Rather than waiting for problems to arise, you can proactively identify and address potential challenges.  

  • Automated health checks: Implement automated monitoring systems and health checks to detect issues and anomalies in real time. For example, a software company can deploy automated health checks to identify coding issues and system errors before they impact customers. By proactively detecting and resolving technical issues, you can minimize customer downtime and disruption. 

  • Proactive communication: It’s a crucial aspect of customer service. By using alerts and notifications, you can keep customers informed about potential issues or disruptions. For example, alerting customers about scheduled maintenance or downtime can help manage their expectations and minimize frustration. This transparent and swift communication demonstrates a commitment to resolving concerns promptly, which can help build trust and satisfaction. 
     

💰 Two Cents from Sprinklr

  1. Utilize predictive analytics algorithms to forecast potential problems.

  2. Develop extensive knowledge bases containing solutions to common problems, troubleshooting guides and FAQs. Leverage knowledge-based software to ensure easy and quick information retrieval for customers and support agents. 

 
Tip 6: Invest in contact center technology 

Investing in innovative contact center technologies empowers you to revolutionize customer service operations, driving efficiency and delivering personalized experiences. Here's how:

  • AI-powered chatbots: By deploying AI-powered chatbots, you can provide instant assistance to customers, address common inquiries and facilitate customer self-service. These chatbots, leveraging natural language processing (NLP), can understand and respond to customer queries in real time, significantly boosting customer response times and the overall customer experience. This, in turn, can lead to substantial efficiency gains in your operations.

  • CRM systems and analytics platforms: As you grow and scale, it is critical to utilize contact center CRM systems to manage customer interactions and gather valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Integrated customer service analytics platforms enable you to analyze data from various sources, including customer interactions, social media and website engagement, to inform decision-making and personalize interactions.   

  • Omnichannel routing: Implementing omnichannel routing capabilities can be a game-changer. It can seamlessly route incoming queries to the right expert at the right time with context based on skills, experience and expertise. This ensures that issues are resolved faster and reduces average handling time, giving you the confidence that your customer service operations are running at their peak efficiency.    

  • 360-degree customer view: Providing agents with a comprehensive view of customer information, issue context and knowledge base within a single-screen interface is essential. A unified agent console enables your agents to access relevant information quickly, personalize interactions and resolve inquiries more effectively. 

  • AI-powered reporting and analytics: It helps you track customer sentiments in real time and identify trends and patterns in customer interactions. You can also proactively monitor customer satisfaction trends and intervene when necessary to address issues and improve service quality, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.   

Real-time CSAT Trend analysis with Sprinklr Service

Tip 7: Measure and iterate 

Continuously measuring and analyzing KPIs allows you to identify areas for improvement and refine your strategy based on real-time feedback and evolving customer needs and market trends. 

To effectively measure and iterate on your customer-centric strategy, consider the following steps: 

  • Define relevant KPIs: Identify KPIs that align with your business objectives and reflect the impact of your customer-centric initiatives. These may include metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, retention rates, net promoter score (NPS) and customer lifetime value.

  • Set targets and benchmarks: Establish targets and benchmarks for each KPI to measure progress and performance against defined goals. Regularly assess performance against these benchmarks and adjust strategies to stay on track.

  • Collect and analyze data: Implement systems and processes for collecting and analyzing data related to your KPIs. Utilize customer feedback, behavioral analytics and market research to gain insights into customer preferences, trends and pain points. 

  • Iterate and refine: Use data-driven insights to identify areas for improvement and refine your customer-centric strategy accordingly. Continuously iterate on your initiatives, testing new approaches and tactics to optimize results and better meet customer needs. 

How to measure the success of customer-centricity 

Measuring the success of customer-centric strategies is crucial for you to gauge their effectiveness and make informed adjustments. Here are five key metrics for evaluating customer centricity: 

1. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) 

The CSAT score allows you to assess customer happiness and pinpoint areas for enhancement. It offers valuable insights into customer sentiment, empowering you to address issues and elevate the overall customer experience. 

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2. Net promoter score (NPS) 

The net promoter score (NPS) is a metric that gauges customer loyalty by assessing the likelihood of customers recommending a company or product, rated on a scale from 0 to 10. It serves as a key indicator of customer loyalty and advocacy, commonly employed to evaluate the customer experience. You can determine NPS by asking customers the following question: 

How likely are you to recommend [business name] to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 – 10, where 0 is not at all likely and 10 is highly likely?

Below is a visual representation illustrating the calculation process for NPS:

Net promoter score calculation - Sprinklr


Suggested Read:
How to improve the Net Promoter Score of your brand?

3. Customer effort score (CES) 

The customer effort score (CES) assesses the ease with which customers experience completing a task or resolving an issue.

Typically, there are three instances where you can assess the customer effort score: 

  1. Following customer support interactions. 

  2. Post-purchase of the product or service. 

  3. After using the product or service. 

  Types of CES surveys

Types of scales 

Example 

Interpretation 

1-10 scale 

On a scale of 1 to 10, customers are prompted with questions such as, "How effortless was it to resolve your issue?"  

A rating exceeding 7 indicates that the customer found the solution to their problem with little difficulty. 

Likert scale 

The customer is asked - On a scale from 1 to 5, how much effort was required to address your recent issue with our product/service?  

-Very low effort
-Low effort
-Neutral
-High effort
-Very high effort

The lower the degree of effort, the better the customer effort score. 

Emoticon/emoji scale 

A customer effort score survey using an emoji scale might inquire, "How was the checkout process?" and offer three emojis: a smiling face, a neutral face and a sad face. 

From a customer perspective, the happy face emoji signifies minimal effort, whereas the sad face indicates maximal effort. 


💡Good Read:
How to measure customer experience with the right metrics 

Customer-centric strategy checklist for businesses 

Here is a brief checklist for your customer-centric strategy that is ideal for businesses of all types and sizes.

🎯 Vision and objectives

  • Clearly articulate your vision for becoming a customer-centric organization. 
     

  • Establish specific objectives and goals aligned with your vision. 

👥 Customers understanding 

  • Conduct thorough market research to understand customer needs, preferences and pain points. 

  • Develop detailed customer personas to represent different segments of your target audience. 

⛳ Customer journey mapping

  • Identify key touchpoints and interactions throughout the customer journey. 
     

  • Analyze each touchpoint to understand the customer experience and identify opportunities for improvement.

💼 Prioritizing customer needs

  • Prioritize customer needs based on their importance and impact on the overall customer experience. 
     

  • Align product development, marketing strategies and customer service initiatives with identified customer needs. 

💪 Empowering employees:

  • Provide training and resources to empower employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

  • Foster a culture of customer-centricity throughout the organization, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing customer needs. 

🤖 Leveraging technology and data

  • Invest in advanced technologies such as CRM systems, analytics platforms and automation tools to support your customer-centric strategy. 

  • Utilize customer data and insights to personalize interactions, improve targeting and optimize the customer experience.

✅ Implementing feedback mechanisms

  • Establish feedback channels to gather insights from customers at various touchpoints. 

  • Actively listen to customer feedback and use it to inform decision-making and continuous improvement efforts.

📊 Measuring performance

  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the effectiveness of your customer-centric initiatives.

  • Regularly measure and analyze KPIs to assess performance, identify areas for improvement and refine your strategy accordingly.

🤹 Promoting cross-functional collaboration:

  • Foster collaboration and communication across departments to ensure alignment and consistency in delivering a customer-centric experience.

  • Break down silos and encourage cross-functional teams to work together towards common customer-centric goals. 

🔛 Staying agile and adaptive

  • Embrace agility and adaptability to respond quickly to changing customer needs and market dynamics.

  • Continuously iterate and evolve your customer-centric strategy based on real-time feedback and emerging trends 

 
As we near the conclusion of our journey through customer-centric strategies, you now possess a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to prioritize your customers effectively, along with the key metrics and checklists to measure and implement these strategies. 

Yet, it's crucial to recognize the pivotal role technology plays in bringing these strategies to life. In a market inundated with solutions for customer experience management, it's imperative to discern that only a Unified CXM platform like Sprinklr can truly consolidate teams, tools and data onto a single unified platform. 
 
Sprinklr empowers you with the collaborative tools and contextual insights necessary to orchestrate exceptional customer journeys, aligning perfectly with your customer-centric strategies.  

For personalized insights on how Sprinklr can address your unique business needs and elevate your customer experience efforts, don't hesitate to reach out to our experts.

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