As research and experience are showing us, customers want more than products and services from brands they buy from; they want a story to tell and be part of.
While we can often fall into the trap of trying to be the loudest in the marketplace to get attention and stand out from our competitors, the truth is you don't win the heart of your customer by them following your voice; you win it by finding theirs.
To help you break through the noise of a competitive marketplace and win the heart of your customers, here are three ways to build a customer-centric business.
Don’t fill a gap, fill a void
As entrepreneurs, we are often told to “look for a gap in the market” to find our next big idea. But to be truly significant in the lives of your customers you need to fill more than a gap, you need to fill a void.
While a finding a gap in the market can signify an opportunity, you will often get greater traction from finding and filling a void in your customers’ lives. When you fill a void, you are already creating something your customer wants and it is more a case of awakening the desire and motivation to buy, instead of the hard job of creating it.
Don’t speak before you listen
In business we can often be in a rush to create products and services based on the problem we see, not realising our customers might have a different perspective.
When you are creating new products and services, take the time to ask your customers for feedback and listen. It may turn out that you are solving the wrong problem, that there’s a bigger problem you are missing, or that your new product or service will have more uses than you realised. Your customers are and always will be your greatest source of learning.
Don’t sell a product, champion a cause
The moment you start selling a product or service by its features and benefits you start competing with everyone else in your industry. But when you sell the experience, tell the story, share the vision or champion a cause your customers start buying something else entirely.
Give your customers something to believe in, hope for, aspire to and be part of. While a customer may come to you because they want to buy your products, services or expertise, your role in their lives doesn’t need to stop there.
There are other fundamental human needs like safety, security, love, a sense of belonging, recognition and living up to one's potential, that you can meet in the way you position your business. When you look at the bigger picture like this, you win the love and respect of your customers and put yourself in a completely different league to your competitors.
How can you build a more customer-centric business?