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Become a Customer-Centric Brand with AI-Powered Consumer Intelligence

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Customer centricity is all about putting the customer at the heart of everything you do. More brands are putting emphasis on the customer experience because they’ve seen what happens when they do: it generates short-term sales, cements long-term loyalty, and raises the bar for competitors. To create a strong customer-centric brand, you need to know what customers need, want, and expect from you. AI-powered consumer intelligence can reveal to you all of the above.

Before you can decide how, when, and what insights to collect, it helps to tie those insights to real, tangible business needs and goals. Here’s what the journey looks like.

Customer Centricity as a Competitive Advantage

Customer experience continues to be a top priority for companies, serving as a way for their brand to stand out in a sea of sameness. Because a company’s success ultimately depends on how many sales they make, brands need to create customer-focused experiences that make it easy for them to do business.

Brands that are more customer-centric than their competitors are able to leverage their experiences to win more business. Here are some ways in which brands can manifest this advantage.

Customers Buy More from Brands They Love

People fall in love with brands for many reasons. When we choose a brand, we are representing that brand’s image and values in our own lives. We’re trusting brands to meet our needs. We advocate for the brands we love by buying from them.

Consumers aren’t just willing to buy more from the brands they love; 73% are also willing to spend more. What’s more, 83% of consumers admit they pay as much attention to how brands treat them as they do to the products the brand sells. 

Brands that are customer-centric are more likely to become a brand that their customers love, not just one that serves as a means to an end. When customers truly value your brand, sales and revenue naturally follow.

Customer Centricity Builds Loyalty

A row of cartoon faces showing a range of different emotions

Making the first sale is hard enough. But customers will use that first experience to decide whether they will buy from a brand again. 

Customers that enjoy easy, frictionless, memorable experiences will be more likely to purchase from that brand again. Making them feel valued and ensuring their needs are met are surefire ways to stand out and retain customers for the long term.

On the other side of this same coin, brands lose $35.8 billion in revenue due to customer experience issues that could be avoided. Studies show that 65% of customers have ditched a brand after just one bad experience. What’s more, only one in five customers will forgive a brand after receiving poor customer service.

Taking a customer-centric approach to your brand isn’t an end-all guarantee that customers will never receive poor service or become loyal. However, it can help to close gaps that allow poor experiences to seep through, allowing you to win bigger and lose smaller over time.

Happy Customers Reduce New Customer Acquisition Costs

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Playing the long game of loyalty can help brands increase their bottom line by letting their brand reputation market for them. As more customers experience your brand and like what they see, they will continue to return when you can meet their needs again. 

What’s more, happy customers are more likely to share your brand with their inner circle. They’re putting their name on a recommendation, and that carries a lot of weight in making buying decisions. In fact, people trust referrals more than traditional marketing. It’s an honest and authentic way to get to know a brand beyond slogans, promises, and visual elements.

When your loyal customers become your brand ambassadors, you can continue earning new business at a lower cost per acquisition. Bonus: if you reward your customers for their successful referrals, it can encourage them to continue representing your company to others.

Good Service Design Improves Operational Efficiency

Good customer service doesn’t happen naturally, but rather intentionally. Brands that want to become more customer-centric must do so by design. This means understanding your customers’ needs to the point where you can serve them expeditiously and efficiently, which will thereby reduce backend operating costs. 

 

For example, if you are launching a new product and expect lots of questions from your audience, you can set up an FAQ on your website, ramp up your live chat, and establish a separate menu prompt on your phone system to handle these inquiries. All of these demonstrate you’re committed to helping your customers when and how they need it — which is the very definition of customer centricity.

Brands and Customers Alike Get What They Want

Customers want and expect better experiences from brands. They crave personalization in offers and interactions and hold brands to high standards. They don’t want to jump through hurdles to do business. In many ways, brands want the same things; they want to build deeper connections with customers so they can continue to meet their needs and earn their business. They also want as little friction as possible because too many hurdles can increase costs and decrease efficiency.

Becoming customer-centric allows both sides to get what they want. Brands can enjoy more sales and a boosted reputation by making their products and processes more customer-friendly. And customers benefit by doing business with a company that “gets” them.

7 Steps to Create a Customer-Centric Brand

A smiling woman giving two thumbs up

Gaining consumer insights is a big part of transforming a brand into one that’s customer-centric. At Linkfluence, we use AI consumer intelligence to help brands learn more about the customers they serve and what specifically those customers are saying and feeling about a brand

You can put these consumer insights to work in shaping a customer-centric brand in each of the following steps:

1. Create a Customer-Centric Culture

Customer-centric companies aren’t just customer-centric when it comes to marketing. It’s a character trait that’s woven into the fabric of your company’s mission, vision, and values. A customer-centric company focuses on the customer experience in everything it does. By making it part of your culture, it becomes a trait that your entire team can embody and uphold.

2. Drive the Vision Through Actions

If you’re just starting your transformation into a customer-centric brand, you need to create and share your vision with your team. You can’t achieve this goal by yourself and must rely on every employee, vendor, and partner contributing to your path forward. 

You can drive your vision further by aligning actions and decisions with customer centricity. Proving your commitment will get more people on your side, let them feel included, and encourage them to align their own behaviors with the overarching goal.

3. Map the Entire Customer Journey

You know the meaning of customer centricity, but what does it look like in your organization? The clearest way to find out is to map the entire customer journey. 

Take a walk in your customers’ shoes and know what feelings and actions they go through when interacting with your brand. What are their needs at each touchpoint? What friction or obstacles do they see? Where can you find opportunities to improve their experience?

Looking at your brand through their eyes helps you think like a customer. Create the brand you’d want to do business with if you were in their shoes.

4. Empower Employees to Make Customer-Centric Decisions

While business leaders create customer-centric ideals, it’s ultimately the employees that promote them. Employees need to feel like they can provide the customer-centric experiences needed. This means empowering them with decision-making and tools that allow them to focus on the customer and treat them like a priority.

5. Collect Feedback from Customers and Employees

Building a customer-centric brand isn’t a one-and-done action. Rather, it’s subject to continuous improvement because your customers (and their expectations) are always evolving. 

It’s best practice to continue asking for consumer insights and conducting brand check-ups on how you stack up in your customers’ minds. Feedback from customers and employees alike can help you find and address new gaps in service before they affect your reputation.

6. Act on Collected Feedback

Take feedback to the next level by applying the consumer insights you collect. Feedback is meaningless unless you have a plan to act on it. By demonstrating that feedback matters, you’re also proving you take customer centricity seriously and are making real changes to benefit your customers.

7. Work as a Team

Jigsaw puzzle pieces

Every person on your payroll should work toward creating customer-centric experiences. But they should not try to do so as individuals. Rather, your team should work together as a team to ensure consistency and clarity. 

Each person should understand their role as well as how other roles are contributing to a customer-centric experience. Set guidelines, processes, and parameters for how customer-centricity looks and functions. When everyone is making progress toward the same goals, in the same manner, brands are more likely to achieve real, authentic customer-centricity.

The Role of AI Consumer Intelligence in Customer-Centric Branding

Research shows that 80% of brands think they’re getting customer experience right, but only 8% of customers agree with them. Why the disconnect?

For starters, the bar is constantly increasing when it comes to customer expectations. Consumers have more information than ever to help them make buying decisions: online reviews, social media, forums, BBB data, brand websites, and more. 

What’s more, becoming customer-centric is no easy feat. It’s one thing to recognize where gaps exist, but quite another to know how to close those gaps (and do so in a cost-effective, impactful way). 

AI consumer intelligence is poised to change the speed and methods in which brands achieve customer-centricity. Linkfluence collects data from a variety of sources and uses it to create a deeper understanding of your customers and target audience. Data is collected and analyzed in real time on an ongoing basis, helping brands identify issues and areas of opportunities in a timely manner. 

For example, it might take a social media specialist several hours a day to comb through the previous day’s comments, reviews, and engagement metrics on each of a brand’s social media channels. From there, they have to decide how to categorize those comments (e.g., positive, negative, neutral), decide what they mean, compile them into a report, and choose what to do next. You may need other human resources to scour other channels, and even more resources to understand the context behind these insights. AI-powered consumer insights do all of the above on a much larger scale, instantly.

As a result, brands can make real-time decisions that help them stay aligned with customer-centricity initiatives.

Consumer Insights with Technology: Where to Start

AI-powered consumer insights are the next generation of market research and qualitative data. Using these data-driven insights is the secret sauce in connecting customer sentiments toward your brand to specific business challenges. What’s more, the insights that AI can generate at scale and in real time allow brands to capitalize on the details of market research at a fraction of the cost and time it once took. 

Want to see AI consumer intelligence in action? Get a demo today!

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