When your organization operates with a client-centric mindset, it has a greater chance of meeting and exceeding expectations during every interaction and throughout the client’s journey. Putting clients at the forefront of every decision you make is what it means to be client-centric.
Client-centricity gives employees a shared sense of purpose that underpins everything they do. When employees are aligned to the goal of doing what’s best for the client, they can work together to develop and implement ideas and processes that help create optimal client experiences.
Today, client-centricity is a critical component of staying competitive. Here’s a closer look at why focusing on the client is so important and how you can transform your business into a more client-centric one.
Why being client-centric is more important than ever.
A host of technologies have enabled faster and easier transactions while allowing clients to engage with companies in real-time, whether they’re giving feedback about a product or experience, asking a question, or seeking a resolution to a problem. Technology is also making it possible to engage with clients in highly personalized ways.
Having a great experience is so top of mind these days that eight out of 10 clients think it’s as important as a company’s products and services, according to a recent Salesforce study. The same study also found that 74% of B2B and 64% of B2C clients will pay more to have a great experience.
On the other hand, companies that fail to deliver a great client experience or don’t really understand their clients’ needs tend to fall behind. A PwC study found that one in three clients will leave a brand they otherwise love after just one bad experience, and only 38% of consumers say a business’s employees understand their needs. When clients post on social media about negative experiences and give bad reviews, it further damages a company’s reputation and can send potential and existing clients alike running to the competition.
Adopting client-centricity to stay competitive isn’t just about winning more business and earning more revenue. When clients are unhappy or leave, it creates a ripple effect throughout the organization. Employees can start to feel disaffected and employee retention can suffer. A client-centric approach can also help create a desirable, innovative place to work where current and future employees are inspired and motivated, and where they can see the positive results of their efforts.
How to become more client-centric.
Becoming more client-centric starts with a culture shift. It’s about enacting changes throughout your organization that prioritize deep learning about your clients and empower your employees to be more proactive in meeting client needs. The following are some ideas you can put into practice.
- Cultivate empathy toward the client. Empathy means intuiting and responding appropriately to a client’s emotional needs, and it takes lots of practice. Creating client personas, improving written communication skills, and learning from previous client interactions can help build empathy and result in more satisfying client engagement.
- Harness the enthusiasm of your client. No one speaks the language of a client like another client, and what an enthusiastic one says about your products and services matters. Marketing and sales teams can take what they learn through a client advocacy program to develop highly relevant content that keeps clients informed and engaged.
- Recruit candidates with a strong sense of responsibility to the client. Client-centricity doesn’t just magically materialize in a team. One important contributing factor is when you intentionally hire employees who understand the value of good client experiences and are willing to do their part to achieve this end.
- Give employees access to client insights. For employees to really know who your company’s clients are, they need access to client insights that may have previously only been available to sales and marketing teams. Opening up that information to other teams in your company, including client service, helps everyone be more client-focused in their roles, enabling more nuanced, personalized, and successful interactions.
- Incentivize employees to strive for better client outcomes. When employees have a financial stake in client success, they’re even more motivated to help the organization achieve its goals, such as revenue growth and client retention. Bonuses and other cash incentives as part of your performance management plan can help reinforce the importance of a client-centric mindset for employees.
There are many other steps you can take and tools you can use to become more client-centric. But the most important one starts with building your company culture around the needs of the client so you can align all employees to the same client-focused goals.
When you do this, you not only create exceptional client experiences, you’re also better able to compete, both in your business and in the quality of talent you attract and retain.
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