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Strategies for Practicing Customer-Centeredness

Three red, heart-shaped ballons representing taking care of customers.
The general strategies for practicing customer-centeredness are these:

  • Understanding what your customers value
  • Finding out what people want, and giving them more of that
  • Finding out what people don’t want, and giving them less of that

Note: Remember that what people want from a business is simply genuine… HELP! 

  • Surveys reveal that the majority of businesses fall short in providing that help
  • Creating products and services that live-up to those desired values 
  • Delivering the products and services in a manner that also meets those values 
  • Continual monitoring of how you are doing, and making necessary adjustments 
  • Who are your best customers? How will you keep them?
  • Who are your customers with the most growth potential? How will you grow them?
  • Who are your poorest customers? How will you avoid investing any more resources in them?
  • Ensuring that you communicate regularly to profitable customers how much you appreciate their business
  • Demonstrating value, not just talking about it. *Be* the customer value proposition 
    • Too often, we all experience products that don’t perform as represented, surly employees when we ask to have problems resolved, busy signals when we call the company, and warranties with every escape clause under the sun in the small print
  • Continually innovating with value-added services that differentiate your company in a manner consistent with your positioning; little things can mean a lot
  • Streamlining the buying/fulfillment process as much as possible 
  • Personalizing/customizing products and services to the greatest degree possible; recognizing people individually 
  • Offering ways to try products/services before buying 
  • Providing as liberal a guarantee as possible
  • Giving the customer more than he asks for 
  • Making it as easy and friendly as possible to do business with the organization; remove every possible time delay and obstacle to satisfaction 
  • Doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, the way you said you would do it
  • Resolving confusion and problems as quickly and easily as possible
  • Respecting privacy – don’t do things to people that don’tthey don’t want done; don’t force people to do things they don’t want to do
  • Providing options to accommodate differences in preferences 

These principles may seem simplistic and obvious. But think about your experiences as a consumer? How commonly do you see these basic principles practiced well? Not too often, I would venture to say. 

Ambitious? Yes. Idealistic? Yes. But as Leo Burnett, one of the early, savvy, advertising legends said, “If you reach for the stars, you might not reach them. But you won’t come up with a handful of mud, either.”

The good news is, given the scarcity of outstanding performance from businesses, those who do offer high value to the customer will stand clearly above the crowd! 

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