Customer-centricity is like digital dopamine
They light up the pleasure centers in our brain and, over time, inspire love and loyalty. They spark connections that allow customers to know the humans behind a brand. Businesses can begin to tap into the power of customer-centricity by understanding who their customers are and how to be useful in their day-to-day lives, whether it’s a business problem they need to solve or an experience they want to build.
In user experience and design circles, the words “surprise and delight” are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to gloss right over them without thinking about what they really mean—or what’s involved in creating digital experiences that truly deliver on both.
The stories that get repeated often involve over-the-top stunts like delivering a Morton’s steak to a hungry entrepreneur on his layover at Newark or photographing a stuffed giraffe enjoying his extended stay at a Ritz-Carlton before returning it to the child who left it behind. But the day-to-day things that create delight are about removing friction and delivering convenience—making ordinary experiences easier, faster, and cooler than you ever imagined they could be.
They’re little things like not having to enter your credit card number because caller ID associated your phone number with your account. Being able to enter your password verbally rather than having to type in a number. Or capturing information across touch points, so you don’t have to enter the same thing again and again.
Companies that are loved sweat the small stuff (because the little things really aren’t so little)
Sometimes, customer-centricity comes from something as simple as delivering on a clearly understood promise—just doing what you say you’ll do. But this can be so uncommon that when a company actually does it, it comes as a pleasant surprise. We’re so accustomed to perfunctory messages and frustrating phone trees that we are truly knocked off-guard when we encounter real human kindness, humor or emotion.
By creating experiences that transcend the transaction and build a real human connection, you can do more than earn a sale. You can earn the kind of trust that builds long-term relationships based not on gimmicks or discounts, but on genuine value and meaning. And the benefits flow both ways. Companies that are loved make more money, retain people better, lower sales and marketing costs, earn more trust in their products, and grow faster.
In other words, companies that are loved, win
Great customer experience (CX) isn’t just about warm fuzzies. Temkin Group research shows that for many industries, better CX with a focus on customer-centricity delivers significant and quantifiable business impact. Forrester Research reports that companies founded on customer obsession can deliver millions in increased annual revenue and reduce lost revenue resulting from customer churn. But to achieve these potential benefits, Kerry Bodine of Forrester writes, companies must deliver digital interactions that meet their customers’ needs in easy and enjoyable ways.
A customer-obsessed culture helps you deliver high-quality, on-brand, consistent experiences that drive loyalty.