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Here is what companies want to do to their customers, find ways to get money out of their pocket. As a customer, whether you like it or not, that’s the truth.

To get money out of consumer’s pocket, businesses are constantly exploring new ways. They often ask questions such as, what’s the minimum my company can do to keep customer satisfied. How to win customers loyalty under tough competition from rivals? Who are our true customers and what do they really need from us?

If you observe closely, it all boils down to putting customers at center and designing the business to meet their requirements. The catch is, getting this done while making sure the business does not suffer in the process.

Customer Centricity, as Wikipedia puts it, is a strategy which companies employ to align the organization’s products and services with the wants and needs of their most valuable assets- the customer.

Looking from companies perspective, in my opinion, there are two important benefits with customer centric approach:

  • Ensure a healthy relationship is achieved and maintained with customers
  • Maximize profits for the organization in the long term.

In the past, organizations would find out what their customer’s necessities are by building loyal relationship.

Let’s take this real life example; I was going to a general store in a small town I grew up for getting the groceries for our family. The owner would simply provide me all the required items for a month and just note down the amount we were to pay by the end of the month in his register. Added to that he also knew- what are the items our family will need for the month and have them ready for me to pick up when I arrive at the store. Isn’t that just great?

Well, it will be somewhat inappropriate to expect such a relationship today between customers and organizations.  It may be the bank, the wireless line provider or the retail store where we shop regularly; each of them operate globally and have millions of customers. It’s hard to understand everyone’s needs. Then there is this changing requirement of customers. The availability of different brands, variety of items and bundled offers today makes it impossible for anyone to predict what product/service a customer needs on a particular day.

However, the good news is the advancement in technology today. We are equipped with tons of intelligent software which can gather the data and convert into useful information. Using these sophisticated technologies, companies have ways to track

  • Who their customers are.
  • And predict to a comfortable accuracy, what their needs are.
Who are true customers?

Customer data in an organization is often spread across different departments/lines of businesses. Converting this data into valuable information about customers is the first step towards achieving customer centricity. This customer information is often referred to as master data and will need to be managed in a central repository so as to address data quality issues and duplication. This helps in better analytics and to achieve a single, accurate and complete view of customer information.

What do customers need?

Finding out the needs of customers has become easier in past few years due to advancement of social media. There has been an increasing link between MDM and social networks as Gartner puts it in their recent press release. Gartner highlights social network as one of the three trends that will shape the MDM market in coming years.

Organizations can derive crucial insights from social networks like- What are people saying about my company, product and brand? Who is that person? Whom do they know? How much influence does the person have on his network? This information can help in understanding current trends, needs of existing and potential customers thus taking business achieve greater customer centricity.

To conclude, customer centric businesses should simply orientate themselves to the needs and behaviors of the customers, rather than internal drivers such as the quest for short term profit. This helps them go long way in having loyal customers and do what they do best, get money out of consumers pocket, in a decent way this time & probably for the stuff their customers really need.

What do you think about this blog? Do share your opinion using the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.