Four Ways Businesses Can Be More Customer-Centric

By Sallie J. Sherman

There’s a lot of talk these days about companies becoming “customer-centric.” It means putting customers at the center of the business. The idea is to build positive consumer experience both before and after the sale, with customer retention and repeat business as the goal.

A company putting in the consistent, genuine effort to keep a customer happy and coming back is often rewarded and customer-centric companies understand that being customer-centric is a detailed performance game.

Put the customer front and center

Start by thoroughly understanding the customers’ needs and expectations. Then communicate those throughout the organization before building business strategies and plans.

Build customer relationships

Ensure customers feel appreciated after the initial interaction. Rather than bombard them with endless advertisements and marketing questionnaires, build a meaningful, ongoing relationship with them. Strive to communicate with them the way they want so you can provide information that meets customers’ expectations.

Think outside the box

Don’t be afraid to be different. There are always creative ways to take good treatment of customers to a higher level. Make things easier and more appealing for them through catalogs, online ordering, or customizing your products to their needs.

Don’t make employees second

The customers come first, but without good, dependable employees who believe in the work culture, the product and their customers, there is no link to bring in the business. Recognize and reward the efforts of your employees and empower them to grow your company.

Sallie J. Sherman, Ph.D., co-author of Five Keys to Powerful Business Relationships and The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts, is founder and CEO of S4 Consulting (

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