A customer-oriented approach to business: what it is and how to harness it

Hand drawing Customer Targeting arrows concept with white marker on transparent glass board on dark blue background.
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Oct 26, 2023

True champions of customer experience often face an uphill struggle trying to change their company’s mindset or start new initiatives. Invariably, it’s more challenging to envisage the value of a customer-orientated approach than seeing the ROI of other investments. Company executives often resist calls to invest in customer experience without “hard evidence,” even if the writing is on the wall. However, an exceptional customer experience is invaluable.

According to Forbes, 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report increased revenue. Take Amazon, an entire company whose obsession is the customer rather than the competitor. It remains the most popular online marketplace in the UK.

What are the benefits of being customer-oriented?

Being customer-oriented has several benefits for businesses. Below are some of the key advantages and examples of customer orientation:

Customer satisfaction

A customer-first approach focuses on understanding and meeting customer needs and expectations. By prioritising customer satisfaction, businesses can enhance their reputation and build long-term customer relationships. In turn, satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and advocate the brand.

When businesses consistently provide excellent customer service and deliver value, it fosters customer loyalty. A customer-oriented strategy ensures that customers feel valued and appreciated, leading to higher levels of brand commitment. Loyal customers are likely to stay with a brand, make repeat purchases, and recommend the business to others.

Competitive advantage

In a competitive marketplace, customer orientation can be a significant differentiating factor. Businesses can stand out from competitors by offering superior customer service and tailoring products or services to meet customer needs. This differentiation can lead to a competitive advantage, attracting new customers and retaining existing customers.

Improved brand perception

A customer-oriented approach helps create a positive brand image. When businesses consistently prioritise customer satisfaction, it enhances their reputation as reliable, trustworthy, and customer-friendly. Positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers can also improve brand perception, attracting new customers and strengthening the overall brand value.

Increased sales and revenue

Satisfied customers are likely to repeat purchases and spend more with a brand. Businesses should identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell additional products or services by focusing on customer needs and customer wants. In turn, this can result in increased sales and revenue generation for the organisation.

Enhanced innovation

Customer care is essential. A customer-oriented approach emphasises understanding customer preferences, pain points, and emerging trends. By actively listening to customers, businesses can gain valuable insights that drive innovation and help them develop or improve existing products. Aligning innovation efforts with customer needs increases the likelihood of success in the market.

Reduced customer churn

Customer churn, or the rate at which customers discontinue their relationship with a business, can harm revenue and growth. Companies can reduce customer churn rates by prioritising customer satisfaction and addressing issues promptly. Customer retention is deemed more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

How can customer-oriented companies grow?

Customer-oriented companies can grow by implementing the following strategies:

Continuously improve customer experiences

Enhancing every touchpoint a customer has with a business will make or break its bottom line. Touchpoints include:

  • streamlining processes
  • providing exceptional customer service
  • personalising interactions
  • Regularly gather feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Incorporating these touchpoints into a business strategy and consistently delivering a superior customer experience ensures a business is well-placed to attract new customers and foster loyalty among existing customers.

Develop customer-centric products and services

To provide customer value, a business must meet a customer’s evolving needs and preferences. Companies should conduct market research, engage in customer surveys, and analyse feedback to understand their pain points and desires. Furthermore, this information should be used to develop new products or product development to meet a customer’s expectations. By aligning offerings with customer needs and customer wants, businesses can drive growth and maintain a competitive edge.

Foster customer loyalty and advocacy

Implementing strategies to build long-term relationships with customers includes:

  • loyalty programs
  • exclusive benefits
  • personalised rewards to encourage repeat business
  • Provide exceptional customer service and promptly address any issues or concerns.

Happy and loyal customers are likelier to recommend a business to others, acting as advocates and contributing to organic growth.

Leverage data and analytics

Using data and analytics to drive a customer-oriented approach will help a business:

  • utilise customer data and analytics to gain valuable insights into business needs
  • collect and analyse data on customer behaviour, preferences, and buying patterns.
  • segment customer base to develop targeted marketing campaigns and improve online user experience
  • data-driven decision-making allows a business to optimise its marketing strategies
  • identify growth opportunities, promote problem-solving and tailor offerings to specific customer segments.

Cultivate a customer-centric culture

To cultivate a customer-centric culture, a business must:

  • Foster a company culture that values and prioritises the customer.
  • Ensure its sales team or support team understands the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
  • Provide ongoing training and development opportunities for team members to enhance their customer service skills.
  • Encourage a customer-focused mindset at all levels of the organisation, from the front line to the leadership team.

Embrace technology

For the best customer experience, a business should leverage technology to improve customer interactions and streamline internal processes. By Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a company will centralise customer data and facilitate personalised experiences.

Additionally, embracing emerging technologies such as AI, chatbots, and personalised recommendation engines can further enhance the customer experience.

Actively seek customer feedback

To successfully meet business goals and provide excellent customer support, a business should actively encourage customers to provide feedback through surveys, social media or website reviews, or feedback forms. Seeking regular customer feedback will:

  • identify areas for improvement within a business
  • uncover new opportunities or customer-focused initiatives
  • better understand the needs of the customer
  • decrease customer complaints through feedback implementation.

These metrics demonstrate that a business values its customer’s opinions and is committed to their satisfaction. By implementing these strategies, customer-oriented companies can foster growth by attracting new customers, driving repeat business, increasing customer loyalty, and expanding their market presence.

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