Importance of customer-centricity continues to grow explosively in the digital world

There is general agreement on the importance of customer relations for the creation of value and the success of companies. At trade fairs, events, or whenever companies present themselves to the general public, it is repeated in a mantra that the customer is king and comes first. Customer focus is the central theme. But why do customers feel so little about all these statements? Why do they often still not have the status in the everyday life of companies they deserve?

The answer is simple: all these companies are still product-oriented and not, as they want to believe, customer-oriented. In reality, they are so busy with their targets, monthly and quarterly goals, with the development of new products and their planned quantities, that they lose sight of their customers. Some companies are so busy with themselves and their processes that they even find the customer to be a nuisance.

Only when they see it as important, the customers come back into the game: For instance, when there is a poor order situation, when the self-imposed monthly target is in danger, or when a new product is ready and they expect a wave of excitement from the customers.

However, this form of customer orientation is working ever worse and the situation won’t improve in today’s growing digital world.

An excellent product alone is no longer enough today

Against the background of progressive digitization, companies are facing ever new challenges in shaping their customer relationships, especially since business is made between people - even in the digital age. But digitization is changing everything. As a result, everything that drives companies away from their customers today, anything that slows them down, catapults them out of the market, and that even faster than you can imagine.

The actual product is more and more often only part of the entire offer. Overall, dialogue and exchange with the company over the entire purchasing process is becoming increasingly important. Depending on how they experience and perceive it, they quickly decide for or against a deal. Relevant for the decision are criteria such as e.g. 'simple, transparent or accessible', which they apply not only to the selection of the product but also to the entire dialogue with the company (on- and offline processes).

The standard of aspiration is set higher and higher for one simple reason: Things are expected from providers in the professional environment that have been experienced as pleasant in a private environment. The boundaries between private and professional experience are clearly merging in different industries and topics.

Today's customer is open to new things, if companies make it easy for them to get excited about them.

Providers simply can’t get around the fact that customer focus means thinking like, guiding and implementing the customer.

By Daniela La Marca