5 Tips for Building a Strong Customer-Centric Culture and Fostering Brand Loyalty

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All of us have been customers at one time or another, and we have all likely had a customer service experience that was less than ideal. When we think about those experiences, all of the feelings we experienced in that moment rise to the surface.

Negative customer service experiences can deeply impact our feelings about a particular business or brand, and those negative feelings can be hard — if not impossible — to forget. That’s why every business operating today must have robust strategies for prioritizing customer service and a customer-centric culture. Without satisfied customers, no business can expect to survive, and providing a service is why those businesses are started in the first place.

Businesses that prioritize the needs and desires of their customers and center their happiness can expect better engagement, loyalty, reviews and overall success. According to studies, 73% of consumers say a good customer experience is the key to influencing brand loyalty.

Here are some actionable steps businesses can take to build an ironclad customer-centric culture and create loyal fans of their brand.

Related: How to Cultivate a Customer-Centric Approach to Brand Building

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Building and fostering a culture within a business is often a slow process because its leaders have a wealth of factors to consider. For instance, the branding must resonate with its target audience, the brand’s message has to be on point, and everything must sync with the business’s overall values.

It can take months — even years — to finally get it right and ensure all of these aspects align by finding the correct language, copy, look and feel to capture customers’ attention and make them want to do repeat business with the brand. Entrepreneurs must remember that, when building their business, patience is a virtue. Creating a customer-centric culture will not happen overnight.

That being said, businesses should prioritize customer service from the moment their venture evolves from a concept to an operating brand. If customer service is woven into the brand’s culture from the start, it will eventually become second nature to every stakeholder, including its customers.

A commitment from leadership

An organization’s leadership must set a good example by prioritizing customer service by embodying the values of customer-centricity in their actions and decisions. A commitment to meeting customers’ needs should be threaded through all aspects of their leadership.

Additionally, the leaders’ vision regarding customer service needs to be properly communicated to the rest of the organization. All employees, on every level, should be aware of how the company prioritizes its customers and make this an integral part of their daily approach to their roles.

At the same time, employees should be given enough autonomy to make decisions that allow them to provide outstanding customer service and a customer-centric culture overall. Employees who go above and beyond in this area should be recognized and rewarded.

Related: 4 Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service

Ongoing training

To make customer-centricity part of the organization’s culture, employee onboarding and training need to have a customer-centric focus. Employees should receive in-depth training on customer service approaches that meet the goals and values of the organization.

Employee feedback should also be considered, especially feedback from employees working directly with customers day in and day out. If leaders have set clear expectations for their employees, ongoing training should simply be a refresher on the values and goals of the organization.

Listening to customers

A significant component of providing exceptional customer service is listening to what customers want and acting on their requests. Businesses should implement systems for collecting customer feedback through surveys or requesting reviews.

Customer feedback should be regularly analyzed to determine whether the company is meeting the needs of its target market or if it may be falling short in certain areas. Businesses should also remain transparent with customers regarding changes, mistakes or misfires by keeping the lines of communication open. Doing so will allow customers to feel like their input and feedback make a genuine difference, and companies will feel like they are receiving valuable feedback from their customers.

Adapting, pivoting and continuously improving

A part of any successful customer service strategy is to be ready to adapt to customers’ changing needs and the ability to pivot to meet those needs. If a business has remained customer-centric, it already understands its customer’s needs, preferences and pain points. Through collecting and analyzing customer feedback, brands should be able to identify if those needs, preferences or pain points are changing and preemptively work to meet the new needs.

Businesses that are as flexible and agile as possible in responding to changing customer desires and trends will ultimately be the most successful.

Related: Why You Need to Learn to Adapt

Fostering a customer-centric culture is no longer a mere option. It is a necessity in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.

The good news is that there are various strategies that businesses can employ to make sure their customers feel listened to, engaged with and taken care of. From leadership commitment to employee empowerment to listening to customer feedback and embracing metrics and analytics, each approach plays a crucial role in creating an environment that allows customers to feel valued and where their needs are consistently met.

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