Do you empathise with your customers?

When was the last time that you put yourself in your customers’ shoes when you sat down to update your business plan or strategy?

If you want to win new customers and keep existing customers loyal, increasing your empathy is a smart way to go. If you feel like an experience was somehow personalised for you, it feels somehow more considered, and therefore more relevant.

Have you considered the merits of looking at your customers’ experiences first and foremost, rather than defining your strategy purely from a business-driven point of view?

How customer centricity can help your marketing strategy

Putting your customer at the centre of the experience and combining that with your CRM will enable you to collect a lot of interesting data which could potentially lead to a great deal of helpful insight. This includes:

• Using customer lifetime value to segment your customers based on who spends the most money

• Using data to analyse buying behaviours and interests

• Identifying opportunities to create new products or services

Therefore, customer centricity doesn’t start and end with strategic planning. It can actually lead to very real new offerings or optimisations of your existing offerings to improve your bottom line.

Time for an example

You’re a premium whisky brand that prides itself on its history and heritage. Your gut feeling is that the majority of your clients are wealthy men of a certain age.

But how can you be so sure?

By combining your sales records with careful investigation to discover who your customers actually are, you might unearth a growing younger audience of trend-driven whisky drinkers who want to enjoy your product but won’t align themselves with your branding, packaging and marketing as it’s aimed at people twice their age. This could lead to a completely new bottle being designed, a rebrand or a new blend of whisky aimed at a younger audience. Look at how French cognac has found a new lease of life as the drink of choice for the rap scene in the USA.

Time for some stats that prove the value of customer centric design and demonstrate the value of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes: 

More revenue: companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience, according to a report from Qualtrics

Premium pricing: consumers are willing to pay 16 percent more for products and services that come from brands that deliver excellent customer experiences, according to PWC

Winning corporate strategy: the Design Value Index shows that companies that integrate design thinking into corporate strategy outpace industry peers by as much as 228 percent. Happy and engaged customers are at the heart of these achievements

The Five Rules Of Customer-Centric Design

1. Make everyone accountable
To encourage everybody to start making changes to their thinking and behaviour toward customer-centric thinking, make every process accountable to one person or team. For example, make your salesperson accountable for providing sales feedback to the customer support or design teams responsible for implementing improvements.

2. Use customer insight
If you’re designing a new retail environment, what data do you have at your disposal to ensure your design is customer-centric? What processes do you have in place to ensure this feedback is captured in your designs?

Customer complaints might at first seem demoralising. If the brand’s social channels are full of people complaining about how the website doesn’t explain the products well enough, why not see that as an opportunity to turn the retail environment into a knowledge emporium?

3. Prioritise new features
Once you have converted your list of feedback into a to-do list of new ideas, products or services, you will have to prioritise them in order of importance based on your customer requirements.

This can be sometimes be a rather bloody task, where some potentially great new ideas are put on ice or out to pasture if they are not right for your business, or are beyond your current budget. If you make customer experience your primary concern, this will help you to build your design around the right core features.

4. Be a problem solver
Design is not just making something pretty; it is a process of creating something that has been holistically considered from a customer’s perspective, from the beginning of the customer journey through to the end of it.

Solving our customer’s problems, reducing “friction” goes back to empathy. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask if what you are designing works to improve their core customer experience, or hinder it. The process of understanding could be something like:


5. Let your customers know you care
Having a direct, open relationship with your customers is a great way to build brand loyalty, and one way to do this is to let them know when you’ve taken on board their ideas, concerns and feedback, and have used it to improve their experience.

Whether it’s packaging going fully recyclable after a customer questionnaire, or it’s a store environment becoming more accessible after a customer had difficulties navigating the space, be grateful to your customers for giving you their feedback, and celebrate the improvements you have made on their behalf.

We hope that you’ve found this guide to building customer-centric experiences helpful. If you want to learn more about building customer-centric worlds, drop me an email:

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