The secret to growth? Putting customers first

Leaders and companies can focus on many things: building partnerships, adopting new technology, creating great products, and more. However, the most important thing you can do to set your company up for long-term success is to put customers first.

A customer-first culture is evident in everything a company does, from the products it creates to the technology it uses and how it treats employees. Ilir Sela, founder and CEO of Slice, has prioritized customer centricity from the beginning of his company.

"Our culture is just thinking about the customer first and leading with empathy,” he said. “You must think about the customer first to serve them well and ensure you provide them with the best experience."

A customer focus isn’t just something nice to have — it strongly impacts your business. When customers feel valued and connected to a company, they are more likely to return and refer your business to friends and family members. While more than half of customers will move to the competition after a single bad experience, 42% of companies that prioritize customer experience report extremely high business growth. Research has also shown that customer-centric companies grow their revenue 4–8% faster than the competition. Why? Because their customers are loyal, and it is less expensive to maintain than acquire new customers. Satisfied customers become brand advocates and help the company develop products and services people want to use.

How can leaders put customers first? Here are three ways to get started:

Model a customer-centric culture

Leaders set the tone for customer-centricity. Employees will follow suit when leaders are engaged with customers and care about their experience. A customer-centric culture doesn’t happen overnight; it takes constant effort to consider what customers want and how the company can improve their experience. Every employee, not just those who interact with customers, impacts the customer experience. A great culture comes when employees see the impact and value of their work.

Listen to customer feedback

Customers have opinions and want to be involved. Ask customers for feedback on everything from the products you sell to the website experience or what it’s like to come into your store or office. Asking for customer feedback shows you value their opinion. But don’t stop there — you must take that feedback to make changes and improvements to your company. Identify trends and pain points from customer feedback and find ways to improve them. As you engage with customers and listen to their suggestions and opinions, you build meaningful relationships that connect them to the company.

Deliver personalized experiences

Too often, companies build one experience for every single customer. No matter the person’s preferences, lifestyle, or budget, every person has the same product recommendations or has to go through the same web or mobile experience. Today’s customers crave personalization. And with growing AI and other technology, it’s easier than ever for companies to know their customers and deliver solid, personalized experiences. Personalization can look like recommending relevant products to customers, remembering their preferences or buying history, or streamlining the customer service experience to get them to someone who can answer their questions quickly.

Written by

Michelle Kaiser
Michelle Kaiser

Senior Editor | CEO.com

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