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Apr 06, 2022
4 minutes read

How The Customer Relationship Will Define Your Business Model

New generations of customers ask for different business approaches. Modern consumers are well-informed and tech-savvy, with high standards for any business. A customer-centric business model can help you live up to these standards. Let’s first have a look at these new generations before diving into how you can take on a customer-centric approach.

Brechtje van Houtum
Brechtje van Houtum,
Content Marketer

Move over Millennials, Hello Gen Z

Today, Gen Z and Millennials are the majority of customers, with Alphas on their way. By 2026, Gen Z will have massive spending power, outgrowing millennials. This generation is raised with the internet, social media, and technology. They were basically born with a smartphone in their hands —no wonder their digital expectations are high, very high. Actually, 85% of Gen Z see online shopping as an experience rather than a transaction.

Why do you buy a particular product? You’d be surprised by the motivations of Gen Z. It’s not just a good experience. This generation chooses products to help express who they are. Personalization is key: Gen Z customers are willing to pay more for targeted products for their individual needs. Moreover, they look beyond products and services, researching what a company stands for. What’s the purpose of the company? Gen Z’s won’t buy from a brand not reflecting their values. Since they’re accustomed to having any information available, they highly trust third parties. This generation prefers using non-company guidance (such as Google Search, YouTube, or Reddit) to resolve their issues independently, even when they have the option to contact customer service. They even turn to social media for financial advice.

The Customer At The Heart of Your Business

We have to realize that expectations are changing. Future customers will only buy at companies matching their values, offering a great experience, with products and services targeted to their individual needs. For many companies, this is not easy. To get there, you need to understand your customers. Focus on what they want and need and how they prefer to interact with your business. Becoming customer-centric requires a change in how your entire company thinks and operates. Every employee should put the customer at the heart of their business.

This shift is more than offering a good customer experience or sending tailored offers. You have to understand and help customers throughout their entire journey, building a long-term relationship. Forrester expects customer-centric business models to yield at least 700% ROI over 12 years, showing you can realize long-term business goals and sustainable growth.

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How To Create a Customer-Centric Business Model

We already mentioned it above: becoming customer-centric is not easy nor fast. It’s a transformation. You have to stop thinking inside out. Think like a customer. What are their wishes? What do they want to achieve? Then consider how your company can attribute.

We’ll give you five tips to start your transformation.

1.      Get to know your customers.

To become customer-centric and focus on the relationship, you have to know your customers and understand what they want and need. Get in touch with them. Listen. Ask for feedback. Listen. Based on these insights, you can optimize your company. You might even get new ideas or extend your services.

2.      Build an authentic brand.

What do you stand for? What’s your mission? Is this reflected in all your communication? Make sure people get a feeling of your brand. Shared values can be the basis for a relationship. Express your values on your website, on your social channels, and in conversations with employees and customers. 

3.      Be transparent.

Sharing your values is step one, but acting like it is step two. Breath what you stand for. Show your customers what you are doing and why you are doing it. Explain pricing and be transparent about your terms and conditions. It might be worth embracing other platforms since customers are looking for information and support anywhere.

4.      Offer proactive, personalized service.

In every relationship, communication is vital. Ensure customers get the service they expect: whether self-service or assisted service. See every contact as a relationship-building opportunity. Help customers where you can, as soon as possible, and as personal as you can. 

5.      Commit yourself.

A transformation won’t work if you don’t commit yourself. You’ll have to get the entire organization involved. Create a strategy with achievable goals. It’s advisable to start small.

Customer Service as a Starting Point

Who knows your customers best? Your customer service team! Transforming your business into a customer-centric company starts with customer service. They are the ones talking most to your customers. They can express your values and become the face of your brand. We believe this transformation will change customer service into a revenue-generating discipline.

Brian Manusama, Chief Strategy Officer, and Michiel Gaasterland, Evangelist, predict that in 2030 most businesses will be customer-centric. Want to find out more? Read ‘6 predictions for customer service in 2030’. 

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Brechtje van Houtum
Brechtje van Houtum,
Content Marketer
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As a copywriter, Brechtje shares a lot of content for our Customer Service, Customer Support, Marketing & Sales community. Believes in 'customer first'.

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