The 7 Pillars of Customer Centricity

Emilie Kroner
Marketing Insights E-newsletters
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Key Takeaways
  • “Customer centricity is sometimes used as a catchall term for talking about customer feedback or customer satisfaction results, but making people happy is only one part of the equation.”
  • The seven pillars of customer centricity help provide marketers with the insight to measure and assess their customer loyalty programs.
  • The pillars include experience, loyalty, communications, assortment, promotions, price and feedback.

Businesses across the industry are embracing the concept of customer centricity by forgoing traditional business-driven strategies and adopting a more customer-driven strategy. Customer centricity is sometimes used as a catchall term for talking about customer feedback or customer satisfaction results, but making people happy is only one part of the equation. To have sustained success, companies must understand current customer needs and wants, and ensure that there are the right internal and customer-facing strategies, processes and marketing initiatives to satisfy them.

That is where a new structure, born of data-driven customer science, comes in. The seven pillars of customer centricity provide a framework for action, giving companies the insights needed to track, measure and improve in seven core areas. By analyzing customers’ perceptions against these pillars, marketers have a blueprint for customer-centric activation to drive customer loyalty. Here are the seven core pillars and how they help boost customer loyalty:

1. Experience: Make the customer experience easy, enjoyable and convenient. Companies that excel in customer experience make their customers so happy that they want to share their positive interactions with your brand.

2. Loyalty: Reward and recognize customers in a consistent way that is relevant to how they want to be rewarded. Loyal companies reward shoppers in ways that are meaningful to customers.

3. Communications: Personalize the message to customers, based upon what they buy, and in a way they like. Highly communicative companies provide tailored, relevant communications based on customer preferences.

4. Assortment: Have the right products and a strong variety to meet customers’ needs. Companies shouldn’t necessarily have the widest selection of products, but they should stock the ones their customers want.

5. Promotions: Leverage promotions on the items that are most appealing and often purchased by current customers. Companies with successful promotions programs promote the products that matter the most to customers.

6. Price: Provide prices that are perceived to be in line with what the customer is looking for on the products they purchase most often. Brands don’t have to be the price leaders, but they do need to have pricing that customers perceive as fair.

7. Feedback: Hear and recognize customer concerns. Companies that rank high in customer feedback have a two-way conversation and emotional connection with their customers.

Customer centricity isn’t just about making customers like you. Recent research demonstrates that when customers perceive a company as being “right for them,” it correlates to long-term revenue growth. Home Depot recently increased sales to $19.7 billion by offering a varied assortment of products, many of which can be personalized to a customers needs. Global beauty retailer Sephora has focused on the pillar of experience by using interactive products, self-serve counters and soft-sell sales tactics.  Since then, Sephora has grown to more than 1,400 stores in 30 countries with annual sales of about $4.4 billion.

How can marketers help foster that kind of growth for their own businesses? It’s crucial to focus strategies, operations and activities on the people who are ultimately responsible for a company’s success: loyal customers.  

True growth—and the customer centricity that drives it—is not accomplished by a strong rallying cry or a catchy slogan. A company must understand its customers’ behaviors and attitudes and have the internal processes in place to create a cultural change within the organization. By aligning deep customer insights with communications and operational processes, and identifying gaps in performance among the seven pillars of customer centricity, a company can drive sustainable results. 

This was originally published in the October issue of the Marketing Insights e-newsletter.

Author Bio:

Emilie Kroner
Emilie Kroner is dunnhumby’s head of organization engagement for the consumer markets, and she focuses on helping organizations within the retail, grocery, service and consumer products verticals to align their businesses around a customer-centric vision. Kroner and her team facilitate both organizational change and customer interaction for sustainable business action.
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