Join the ranks: 5 brands mastering customer centricity
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
Customer centricity. You’ve likely heard of it: the concept of putting customers at the heart of all business decisions. Businesses may approach this strategy differently, but all customer-centric companies aim to provide the best CX possible.
Take the following scenario:
A customer walks into a popular grocery store chain. They’re wandering the aisles looking for almond flour. A nearby associate notices the customer looking around and asks if they can help. The customer replies that they can’t find what they need. The sales associate doesn't just say “it’s on aisle 5;” they gladly lead the customer right to almond flour varieties.
The attendant was engaged, ready to help the customer, and put in the extra effort to make the customer happy.
In 2021, customers expect more than a good product, they also want companies to continuously listen to them and meet their needs. Looking for a way to put customers first and master customer-centricity? Consider taking a note from these brands that accomplished just that.
Glossier works directly with customers to create products
Glossier is one of the most customer-centric companies because they engage their community regularly through their Slack channel. Through this open dialogue between CX, product teams, and customers, Glossier gets direct feedback from customers on whether or not they’re catering to their needs. The brand calls this collaboration ‘co-creation’.
Glossier gives 100 of their most loyal customers a chance to give their feedback on new products through their Slack channel. The brand asks customers questions about existing items and how they use each product, putting the community’s voice upfront and center.
Customers feel like an important part of product development and remain committed to the business as it grows. Glossier goes beyond making customers feel involved; they acknowledge their place at the center of the company, viewing feedback not as a gesture of goodwill, but as an obvious necessity. Essentially, they put customers first.
The end result of giving customers a massive voice? Glossier creates products customers want, need, and are excited to use, which keeps them loyal to their brand.
Wegmans customer centricity starts with a pleasant working environment
To get the love of their customers, Wegmans food markets creates an empowering work environment so that employees feel proud of their roles and are excited to come in and help customers. This customer-centric approach includes investing in training, development, and a pleasant atmosphere for staff.
Last year, Fortune reported that Wegmans devoted $50 million to employee development, with structured programs to help employees grow into management positions and develop culinary skills. They also set aside $5 million for scholarships.
For Wegmans, building strong customer relationships begins with taking care of store employees who serve the customers. If they have good, hard working people striving towards a common goal, they’ll get results—in this case, putting customers first.
Wegmans understands that in the age of ecommerce, physical retailing is a people business, not a product business. For them, achieving customer-centricity and making customers happy is about how you sell, not what you’re selling. And because Wegmans staff is built on employee loyalty, their staff takes pride in giving customers the best CX.
Hilton lets customers create their own ideal experience
When people began using their smartphones more and more to manage their everyday life, Hilton created a new strategy that allows guests to build their perfect hotel stay and take a much larger role in shaping their experience.
The hospitality chain instinctively understood customers’ desire to stay connected through their phones, accomplish everyday tasks by a tap of a button, and have a discrete experience so they iterated their Hilton Honors app.
Through the application, guests can check in or out of rooms, request specific preferences, choose a room based on views, floor, and/or proximity to the vending machine, use their phone as room keys, mark their favorite rooms so they know which ones to book if they return to the same hotel, etc.
As they rolled out the app, Hilton made sure employees adapted to these new digital changes so they could understand exactly how customers wanted to be served. Using modern tech, the 102-year-old hospitality chain allows guests to customize their own experience based on individual needs and preferences.
Hilton puts customers first by showing them their needs and preferences matter so much, the chain will hand over the controls and put guests in the driver seat of their own CX.
GE Additive invests in customer education
General Electric models customer centricity through their transparent and hands on approach that helps customers succeed. GE doesn’t operate a blind trust model with their B2B customers; they want them to get a tangible feel for how the company’s additive manufacturing practices will improve their business and the lives of their customer base.
To help customers achieve success in additive manufacturing, GE built two customer experience centers in Pittsburgh and Munich. At the centers, customers looking to begin their journey with additive can see the process in action, experience GE’s products, and speak with GE’s experts on how to come up with a plan to integrate the technology into their business.
GE isn’t just selling products; they’re giving customers hands-on training for how to best think through or improve their processes, products, and supply chain. This added value makes customers feel like partners, not dollar signs. GE shows customers their questions, concerns, and opinions matter by giving them a transparent look into the additive manufacturing process.
Wistia uses the right medium to help their customers
Video hosting and analytics platform, Wistia, knows good customer service means understanding how customers best absorb information through different mediums, in order to provide the best CX possible. When analyzing customer data, Wistia found that their customers absorb information better when it’s presented in video format.
That’s why the company uses the medium to help customers get the most out of the software. How-to-videos on technical topics allow Wistia to support customers and demonstrate how to use different aspects of the product.
Wistia uses other mediums as well, but videos help customers resolve their issues with little friction and make them feel more at ease with the brand. Through their videos, customers get more value out of the platform as they’re able to learn more effectively and remember solutions better than if they received the same explanation over the phone.
By understanding how their customers prefer to receive help and offering them the medium they're comfortable with, Wistia enhances customers’ experience with the brand.
Take a cue from the above brands and embrace customer centricity
Customer centricity brings huge value to brands from raising customer loyalty to increasing your competitive edge. Depending on your company and customers’ needs, the strategy will vary. One thing all customer-centric brands have in common though, is putting customers at the heart of their business.
There are several ways to focus on customer centricity, whether it’s involving customers in product development, focusing on employees’ wellbeing, letting customers take charge of their experience, providing transparency, or meeting them on channels they most prefer. When examining how to put customers first, take your cues from the brands above.