There’s a gap between companies’ ambition to be customer-centric and the actual implementation of that ambition. In this series of articles, we discuss six ways in which to bridge that gap.

In our last article we talked about setting realistic goals, and alongside this is the need think strategically around your customer-centric activity.

Focus on higher-value segments

According to Professor Michael Porter “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do”, as well as what you should do. Prioritisation is vital, and you will usually need to stop doing something old in order to start doing something new.

A customer-centric approach does not mean treating all customers in the same way. Tough decisions will need to be made about the customers you won’t be prioritising (at least initially) and clear internal communication about these priorities will be vital to your success.

One of the most frequent questions we are still asked today is “if I target this group, does it mean I alienate everyone else?” The answer is of course no. A company we have worked with on segmentation for a decade found that 75% of their customers came from segments other than the one they were targeting. This does not mean segmentation isn’t working! Instead, it means that there are plenty of consumers outside of your core target audience that still find your brand relevant.

Differentiating your offer by targeting and positioning against a particular segment does not mean you become less relevant to everybody else. It means you become more relevant to a clearly defined, valuable consumer group. This wider audience may not have a perfect fit with your brand’s strategic direction, but there are still dozens of ways to attract them.

 

Map out your route

Customer-centricity should be thought of in the same terms as continuous improvement, in that it is a never-ending cycle rather than a one-off project or programme. As such it needs strong project management to be successful and a core part of this is setting realistic goals, outcomes and timelines. If you are changing some parts of your organisation, there will inevitably be a knock on effect, and so understanding the relationship between different processes and departments is key.

 

Where to start?

Becoming a more customer-centric organisation is something that can and should affect nearly every department. It often represents a major shakeup in the way your organisation might run and can directly affect the way people do their jobs. As such it can be a source of worry and resistance for some.

Assuming you have set goals which are realistic, measurable and can be carried out practically, there is no wrong answer as to the best place to start but we would advice choosing something a ‘quick win’ to begin with. Quick wins are typically areas which can be changed with relative ease, speed and will have a noticeable impact. Sharing a successful project early on can help to open the ears of sceptics who may have doubts about the effect of your programme. Speaking in broad terms, it is always easier to get more from existing/lapsed customers than in new ones, so this may be an area to begin with.


If you want to ensure your programme is successful, why not trust the experts? Get in touch with the Bonamy Finch team today and see if we can help.