Marketing Strategy

The importance of being customer centric

The great thing about customer service is it’s something that everyone can relate to.

We’re all customers in dozens of different forms each day and we know exactly what makes us happy and what doesn’t. So one might think there’s no excuse for forgetting customer needs when building a business.

As we all know from those wasted hours waiting on hold, or frustrating conversations with companies who seem to have little interest in solving our problems, some organisations can quickly become blindsided by factors such as profit. They soon lose sight of their individual customers – the likes of you and me.

With the growth of social media marketing, word spreads faster than ever before. So if your customers aren’t at the heart of the business decisions you make, you might want to think again. I decided to take a look at companies that I’ve used locally in Colchester, and highlight some people who deserve a pat on the back for their great service. There are many local companies that retain a customer-centric ethos and use it to underlie their entire business strategy.

Take, for example, GOSH (Projects) Ltd.

GOSH is a Colchester-based organisation that supplies and fits office furniture. It’s a business-to-business company, working for clients across the UK. Its recent orders include the fitting out of more than 60 offices for one client, and the delivery of nearly 50 chairs to the offices of another.  It also trades as GOSH (Office), which offers about 28,000 products available on a next-day service. But despite these sizeable projects, GOSH treats even the smallest orders with the same care.

What sets GOSH apart from similar organisations is its respect for customers and understanding that the one-size-fits all approach isn’t relevant in today’s workplace environment. GOSH goes the extra mile to align its products and services with customers’ specific needs. They don’t just sell furniture, they take surveys and interview clients on what they want to achieve. They bring in experts in health and safety and ergonomics, measure, deliver, assemble items, test them, and offer demos on how to get the best from them in terms of comfort and suitability. This is a far different experience than the one you get when you walk into Staples.

The organisation’s reputation is built on its reliability to make sure the order is right, first time. Every desk is level and cleaned, locks are tested. Even furniture is made to order without extra costs to the customer because GOSH has found a way to make it work. With GOSH, it’s about creating the kind of experience we all like to receive.

Next on the list…  Xtreme Gaming.

Some of the most successful businesses offer a unique service that fulfils real, tangible needs. Many communities lack safe environments where younger generations can socialise and enjoy themselves. With their quirky business idea, a Colchester-based duo fulfilled this need and are enjoying mounting success.

The business was born from an idea Sam Tolmie shared with his brother – a unique gaming centre and the first dedicated XBOX 360 gaming centre in England. Xtreme Gaming is a cross between an internet café and an entertainment experience with its high-spec equipment and comfortable seating. It’s like the Disneyworld of gaming. The centre is themed into different zones such as a zombie room and a sci-fi area and its ethos is for everyone to enjoy a great experience. The brothers put on themed events and press days where gamers can play games before they’re released. They get to know their regulars – learning what they like to play and introducing them to games they might not have otherwise tried.

As the centre became more popular, the Tolmie brothers noticed that their form of gaming was also breaking down social barriers. At Xtreme Gaming, people share a common interest. The business builds a community spirit because customers can network their games and make new friends. The business has challenged popular belief that gaming is unhealthy or linked with seedy, dark arcades. The centre provides a safe, supervised and comfortable environment with a strict security policy where parents feel comfortable leaving their children while they do some shopping. The brothers tailor the customer experience right down to the fees.  They always listen to customers and incorporate their ideas.

Now my final choice, Think Social Business.

Many organisations grow by selling as many products or services as possible. But others focus on selling quality of service over quantity, and through sharing knowledge that supports and enhances the work of other businesses around them. Think Social Business is a Colchester-based social media marketing company providing social media management services. It also offers training to give its clients the tools to run social media more effectively.

Just two years old, Think Social Business has already developed a reputation for its ethical approach to business. The husband and wife team works hard for its clients and is genuine about helping them succeed.  The company recognises that businesses know they need social media but don’t have the time or knowhow to do it themselves, or they feel intimidated by it. Think Social Business approaches social media differently than many of its competitors. Its approach is based on the premise that people buy people and Think Social Business uses social media to humanise a brand and give it a personality.

For Think Social Business, a successful social media campaign is not about churning out as many tweets as possible for a client, or using all the channels to throw out sales messages. What sets the company apart from others is the time and effort it invests in understanding the client’s business and its true need for social media, aims and objectives.  It’s this ethos that appeals to many organisations who want to work with businesses they can trust.

Now’s the time for customer centric marketing

So while it may often seem as though an increasing number of organisations are hung up on sales and not service, it’s reassuring to know that many, actually do put the customer first. They genuinely want to make sure they can meet our every need. Being customer-centric is more important than ever for businesses as buyer behavours change and access to competitor information is easily found online.

Being customer centric also applies your marketing. Having customer centric marketing isn’t just a philosophy. It requires learning new skills in today’s digital world with marketing automation tools surfacing everywhere and social media for social marketing. Learning to apply these skills to create relevant, targeted customer experiences is the key to customer centric marketing and marketing success. More than ever, people are bombarded with marketing messages, coming at them from across multiple channels. Understandably, audiences are learning to tune out and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to capture their attention.

So how can you win?

Choose to be customer centric with both your service delivery and with your marketing. That’s the best way to get noticed in a world of digital distractions and growing choices.

You can learn more about customer centric marketing, improving sales success using buyer personas, optimising marketing performace through analytics, and much, much more. Subscribe to KG Moores Strategic Insights blog.

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