Viewpoint: Why Your Survival Rests on Customer-Centric Strategies
By Brian Beacom, FIS
How do consumers feel when they shop with you? Are you just another generic provider of goods and services, or do you create a complete shopping experience that fosters repeat business and word-of-mouth buzz? Implementing a customer-centric strategy is integral to standing out from the crowd.
What Does It Mean to Be Consumer-Centric?
Traditionally, business models focused primarily on stores; entrepreneurs and owners concerned themselves with material assets, human resources, stock and profit margins. Although these factors retain their importance, your overall goals have to include engendering a positive experiences for your customers if you want to thrive.
As more retailers expand from brick-and-mortar only to online or multichannel business models, helping shoppers enjoy themselves becomes increasingly essential. Though modern business may seem impersonal, consumers have come to expect customized interactions in the form of tailored discounts and offers, providing a personalized shopping experience with a simple integrated payments process. When combined, the consumer interface provides a seamless and pleasant shopping experience.
The Benefits of Customer-Centric Thinking
Consumers deserve memorable experiences that help them relate to the brands they patronize. Whether this means installing seamless checkout technology, following up with emailed satisfaction surveys or building loyalty rewards programs for die-hard fans, forging a stronger connection makes you stand out. Over time, shoppers will associate you with more pleasant encounters that entice them to stick with you instead of scoping out one of your competitors.
|No matter what field you’re in, your patrons know there are alternatives. The best way to make your business seem more attractive than the competition is to get to know the people who patronize you.|
The most profitable businesses are known for offering customer-oriented service. Apple created a shopping experience with completely new standards in brick-and-mortar retail, and the company constantly entices users to register their products and interact with the brand to receive personally relevant service offerings. Retailers like Amazon and eBay make intelligent use of consumer data to target customers with products they might be interested in and overcome the stigmas associated with advertising, while still performing marketing outreach. Such strategies revolve around seeing consumers as individuals and responding to their desires in kind.
How Can You Be More Customer-Centric?
No matter what field you’re in, your patrons know there are alternatives. The best way to make your business seem more attractive than the competition is to get to know the people who patronize you.
In addition to performing direct market research, investigate your own business model. Tallying customer responses is one thing, but implementing data-driven metrics is just as important. Delve into essential shopping experience factors like Web storefront loading times, support ticket frequency and unsolicited product sentiments published on social media and review sites. Learn what motivates your consumers, and you’ll be able to chart a clearer course for the growth of your own consumer-centric culture.
What’s your next step?
With his extensive experience in business and product development for financial services, Brian Beacom focuses on merchant and retail products at FIS. He can be reached at Brian.Beacom@fisglobal.com.
In Viewpoints, payments professionals share their perspectives on the industry. Paybefore’s goal is to present many points of view to offer readers new insights and information. The opinions expressed in Viewpoints are not necessarily those of Paybefore.