Many businesses have heard the catchphrase, customer-centricity. This is a valid approach that creates robust sales and service by truly understanding your customers. Once you understand your customers, you are then able as a business to shape services and products around their unique needs.
While this is an actionable and potentially successful way of conducting business, there is another approach that goes a step further by elevating the customer’s role. This is what is known as Customer Inspired Growth.
Customer-Centricity vs Customer Inspired Growth
Think of customer-centricity as the start of growing sales and service and Customer Inspired Growth as another layer that furthers a company’s reach.
For instance, customer-centricity starts with three pathways:
- Vision-Led. This is a logically successful approach but often difficult to implement. It is where the focus is to define the customer experience then to work through the operating model.
- Blockbuster. In this approach, an organization uses a blockbuster proposition for immediate results. This works for immediate customer impact yet does require dexterity.
- Enabler-Driven. This has a slower pace but a more fundamental change by changing the culture of the company prior to pursuing alignment.
Each of these pathways showcases how a business can better understand their customer. However, what Customer Inspired Growth aims to do is further that understanding into bringing the customer in as an active role within the company.
According to Forbes:
We have moved from a B2B to B2C to “B2Me” economy. We now live in a world where professional consumers—armed with the power of infinite information—can and will draw a straight line between what they think they want and the company that can give it to them most efficiently and delightfully. So, the company that knows best its customer’s, customer’s customer wins. Every. Single. Time. Period.
Customer Inspired Growth is All About the Customer
There are three main components to be aware of and embrace when it comes to implementing Customer Inspired Growth effectively:
Identify What Matters to the Customer
In order to truly be able to center your company around the customer and create Customer Inspired Growth, you must first identify what matters to the customer.
Take for instance an example found on Entrepreneur:
As larger, low-margin stores push many small-scale retailers out of business, Ace Hardware has remained strong. The reason, its leaders say, is that employees are trained to not just be nice, but helpful. Staff go through extensive training not just about the products and services sold in stores, but also about types of customers they’ll encounter and how to help each one. According to company policy, staff can’t say “No,” without a manager’s approval.
What this example shows is that Ace Hardware is focusing on the customers that frequent their store and the training provided allows employees to help a specific type of customer.
This creates a business model that is identifying what matters to the customer and in this case – it is taking care of their needs better than another store that may sell the very same thing. It’s a way of putting the customer first and centering your techniques based on what is important to the customer such as their shopping experience.
Build the Business From the Customer’s Point of View
Building your business from the customer’s point of view instead of the company’s point of view is another way of using Customer Inspired Growth to further sales and satisfied customers.
By making the customer a central part of the business, it uses the customer’s journey and input as a foundation for the company. This is similar to using a customer journey map in order to give value to the business from the customer’s point of view.
Look at it this way, if you are at a restaurant then you want to be able to choose your meal from a menu. Some businesses take away that hypothetical menu and instead, offer their customers what the business thinks that they want instead of actually giving them input.
Extend Into New Products or Services for the Core Customer
Brands that are committed to customer-centricity focus on what the customer wants and needs, and develop products and services around that. Those who are focused on Customer Inspired Growth allow the customer to determine their product ideas and new services.
A good example of customer-centricity is how the original Apple iPhone because something the masses own instead of what it was originally – an item for those where money was no object.
Apple figured out how to lift the iPhone from its luxury niche, disperse it to the world’s peoples and then do the same thing in reverse with the new iPhone X, where it once more became a luxury item.
An example of Customer Inspired Growth is the Mars Chocolate brand that decided that their customers should have input on sales and allowed shoppers to pitch ideas to senior executives. This led to a huge campaign that increased sales by over 11 percent – all from a customer’s idea.
Understand Your Customers
Customer Inspired Growth is something that demands that you really know your customer base, but that’s not all. You must also give them a role within your company in order to fully utilize the Customer Inspired Growth model. Whether it’s metal closures, packaging, or anything else – this way of doing business will help ensure that you see new ideas that are beneficial to your company and will further its sales and services.