The Key to Customer Centricity: It’s Not About You
The key to masterfully incorporating a customer-centric mindset into your business is actually really simple. It’s not about you. While this may sound incredibly obvious, many companies I run across have a difficult time getting their brains wrapped around this basic concept.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Companies want data. Lots and lots of data. BIG data. How do they usually get it? By asking prospects and customers to fill out long forms and/or questionnaire before ever starting a relationship with them. From the companies’ perspective, this is a great way to collect important, vital information. I get that. But seen through the customer or prospects eyes, it can feel time consuming and intrusive, especially if the relationship hasn’t even gotten off the ground.
Think of it this way. Your first few interactions with a customer or prospect are like coffee dates. They are a chance to get to know each other. To find out if there’s enough there to keep going. Imagine sitting down for coffee for the very first time with someone. And you are immediately bombarded with question after question about yourself, your history, your likes, your dislikes, your salary, etc. While these are all important things to discover in a potential relationship, hitting someone you’ve just met with a barrage of questions is the fastest way to ensure there is no relationship. Mainly because the person asking comes off as a self-centered, and perhaps slightly creepy, jerk.
Now imagine sitting down to coffee with someone who is super interested in who you are. Who asks just a few simple questions and really listens to your answers. Who looks for common ground as you talk. And slowly moves the relationship forward just a little bit. And then asks to meet for coffee again. Or maybe a movie you mentioned wanting to see.
Which of these scenarios has more appeal? Unless you’re into slightly creepy jerks, I’m betting it’s the second one. Why? Because that person is taking their time. Listening. Paying attention. Moving slowly. They will probably wind up getting the same information from you as the first person, but in a way that focuses on you and your comfort level not on their need to know everything all at once.
So if Customer Centricity is part of your business discussion, take a look at some of your basic and preliminary customer/prospect interactions. Better yet, become that preliminary customer or prospect and go through your company protocol. Who is the focus? Have you set up an easy interaction or an overly intrusive experience? Only one of those is customer centric. And the companies who get it right, will be the ones who build critical long-term relationships AND get the information they need.