November 26, 2014

6 Best Practices Should Be in Your Customer Centric Tool Box

customer centric tips

What are the best practices that help you succeed, serve your customers and keep up with changing times?

If you figure out who your customer is, what they like and need and how they prefer being communicated to, you can build a “customer centric” relationship that can be mutually beneficial long term. This should be a relationship building goal for all your connections.

The business to consumer relationship has changed dramatically.  I believe the consumer has an edge now. The end user has more choices and is seeking a much higher, better experience with businesses. Businesses that don’t provide the value, experience and the service – will lose.

My colleague Brian Solis, author of WTF: What’s the Future of Business, based his entire book around this idea of the need to create “experiences” that people remember and not transactions.

The opportunity we all have right now with digital and social tools to build customer centric relationships is greater than ever before. The ability to respond in real time to customer praise or complaints is transformative in building the B2B and B2C relationship.

Based on a survey commissioned by RightNow Technologies and conducted by Harris Interactive:

  • 89% of customers will pay 25% more for a better customer experience.
  • 73% of consumers fall in love with a brand because of friendly employees or customer service reps.
  • 89% of consumers do business with a competitor after a poor customer experience.

This should be proof enough to focus on and ramp up your customer centric tool box. Below are six best practices, tactics and experiences that should be in it.

Customer Centric Tips

Branded, Informative Landing Hubs

The saying “you get only one chance to make a good first impression” is truer today then it’s ever been. It’s expected and the only thing some people will have to make a decision about whether to move forward with you.

It’s also important to update and refresh your hubs and make sure everything is current and up to date, especially pictures and professional activity. Nothing fares worse than dated pictures, activity and branding.

Consistently stimulating what people see and read including your website, blog and all your social media platforms keeps people interested.  A branded social media profile, timeline and header can make a big difference in how you are perceived and how you can clearly present what you do.

Content Marketing Using Social Media

If you don’t create it, there’s nothing to be found. Just Google yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

What are you creating, publishing and sharing that helps people and positions you?

Content marketing has become a premier tool to build credibility, reach and buzz. Are you blogging, using eMarketing, creating video or podcasting and promoting and marketing yourself on social media?

Purposeful Networking In Person and Online

Go out and meet people anytime you can. Balance your face to face and online networking. Use them in tandem and always follow up and thank people you meet that could be direct prospects or door openers to others. Go local, national and international. Amazing how we can do this today.

Be an active part of your industry and meet different people doing what you do in different geographical areas.

Volunteer and Pro-Bono Commitments

Getting involved in the community and world that supports you is just good business. Choose some causes, communities and issues you believe in and help them move forward.

Most of these organizations have boards with influential people you could meet, not to mention it’s good for business in general and the soul to “give back.” So many organizations need help and our human capital can impact that.

Professional Development, Education, Building Relevance and Value

Growing and increasing our expertise and adding more value to what we deliver is essential. With technology and trends driving change at a brisk pace, we should be committed to expanding what we know and apply that to our services and relationships.

No matter what industry you are in, staying real time with skills, technologies and applications that relate to your business only helps your customers have the best experience with you.

4 R’s: Rest, Recreate, Recharge and Relax

I have seen way too many people crash, burn and fail from not integrating balance into their lives. We must step back, get away from and allow time to rest, recreate, re-charge and relax with ourselves and our families. This can only make us better with our clients.

Plan that “staycation,” getaway, tech fast or travel vacation into your plans and work it into your business trips too. Business will be there when you return.

Below are some great resources and ideas that can help you manage your business and build those solid, long term relationships with your customers and community.

What are the best practices, tactics and experiences in your small business tool box that helps you serve customers?

Customer Photo via Shutterstock

13 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

13 Reactions

  1. Love the advice to balance face time with online marketing time. Face-to-face interaction provides another level of trust that is virtually impossible (see that pun) to achieve online.

    • Robert, I have always found that to be true. Ultimately relationships go to another level in person or at the very least via phone and opens the way for greater trust and understanding.

  2. I saw one business that is working purely online. Even though their business is operating offline, they are avoiding anything that has to do with face-to-face conversation. With this, it is harder to market as they don’t have any network to begin with.

  3. What are the best practices, tactics and experiences in your small business tool box that helps you serve customers?

  4. Deborah, This is just the kind of “straight talk” that people need to hear !

    The internet and the incredible tools that are available to us can tend to make us think in terms of quantity (shallow connections) as we let quality (deep meaningful connections) fall by the wayside.

    Connection, and a good experience, are what people need from us, and having a cause that we’re passionate about isn’t enough, we have to find ways to authentically share our stuff in a way that suits us, AND, in a way that provides a quality (some in person, some auto-piloted) experience through our unique solutions.

    • Rick, spot on. Relationships take time. The investment we make in the right people pays off many fold. People buy from, recommend and support people. The “tools” we use are simply bridges to each other. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  5. I agree especially on #5, adding more value to what you deliver. Sometimes, our judgement’s are clouded by the numbers that we are seeing on metrics and we forget the fact that our customers are human beings who values interaction and good relationship with our brands.

    • Cheyserr, I have learned to never underestimate what customers are watching and reading, regardless of their posting. Metrics are good but they don’t always mean engagement.

  6. Deborah: My “best practices, tactics and experiences in my small business tool box” will be implemented in my new social media and business philosophy online training place, EGO Dojo.

    Please have a look and talk with you soon again… :)

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