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The Customer-Centric Organization

A recent article I read pointed out the fact that the heart of the word “customer” is the word “custom.” I was surprised by the fact that I never realized this, but once I read it, it seemed so logical and relevant to today’s marketing world.

Nowadays customer service and marketing is all about customization. Offering customers a unique and tailored experience is slowly but surely becoming something that is expected from every customer-facing organization, small or large. That is why I decided to dedicate this post to talking about the theory of customer centricity, a marketing approach that I believe is the most relevant when talking about a customized customer experience.

Customer centricity as a concept was introduced by Peter Drucker, who in his book The Practice of Management claimed that the power to determine “what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper” is solely in the hands of consumers. Even though this book came out more than fifty years ago, this claim is only now becoming reality. Digitalization and social media have put the consumer in the business-ecosystem driver’s seat. Today’s consumers are skeptical, informed, and connected, and they demand engagement and honesty from the companies they choose to buy from.

That is why many organizations attempt to become customer-centric. If in the past companies focused their attention and resources on manufacturing superior products, achieving economies of scale and streamlining production (also known as product-centric), they are now becoming oriented toward the purchaser’s experience with the product and company. Of course, the two must co-exist to achieve success, but we can definitely see how companies are shifting resources and, instead of investing in improving their manufacturing processes, choosing to invest in analytical IT tools that will help them understand their consumers better and therefore serve them better.

Rethinking financial-investment priorities is not the only change that needs to be made in order for an organization to become customer-centric. Often it also involves changing core values and norms in the organization’s culture, altering the organizational structure so it will be more customer-service oriented, and redefining business strategy and processes to fit the new business approach.

Implementing a customer-centric approach is not an easy task, but it is definitely a feasible one. SMBs’ dynamism and flexibility give them an advantage over large corporations to make the changes needed more easily and reap the benefits more quickly.

Where is your business on the axis between customer and product centricity? In my next post, I will focus on helping you understand your business’s position on it.

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