How to build the customer-centric model that your channel partners really want.

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Companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to successfully adopt a customer-centric business model. Having been faced with many obstacles and barriers in recent years, it has been much more challenging to firstly identify solutions and secondly, implement them both quickly and effectively.

For example, in our digital society, businesses are flooded with a high volume of customer data and some companies do not have the correct systems in place to effectively process and analyze the information. Ultimately, there is still a shortage of technological capabilities that allow businesses to intelligently evaluate customer data to deliver a far richer customer experience.

This is not the only concern facing businesses, as company culture also plays a vital role in customer-centricity. In fact, many organizations can remain product-focused and prioritize its sales over its people. To change this and successfully implement a customer-oriented model, Channel businesses must start internally and have a culture that aligns with its customers’ expectations. Leaders and decision-makers need to become role models and demonstrate to the wider team the company values and morals it wants to be known for – therefore delivering to customers the experience they now expect.

Customer orientation can provide a solid foundation for a customer-centric business which, when championed and embraced by employees, can drive success. This culture will also result in more positive customer outcomes and will keep employees motivated, reinforcing effective relationships with partners.

Putting your channel partners first is key

Customer-centricity is all about prioritizing the customer. Having this model at the heart of any business will allow the end-user to have a positive experience from the very beginning of the purchasing journey and will enable them to build a long-term relationship with the company. With the advancements in technology, a business can measure its success with its customers. This is extremely valuable data because it is possible to have a wider understanding of customer needs, interests and how they are engaging with an organization. By identifying these key trends, businesses can offer its channel partners customizable services and promote them to other potential customers.

Customer retention and lifetime loyalty are where a company will exceed in profits and values. Subsequently, if a customer doesn’t receive the correct experiences, they will turn to competitors in search of what they are looking for. Those competitors can end up becoming their first choice when looking for a service. Therefore, organizations must focus on delivering a positive customer experience – even when issues can occur. This may result in adjustments to services and offerings, but once in place will see a massive shift in customer activity. In order to successfully do this, businesses will need to rethink their structure and culture.

Globally, businesses have seen a change in past and present relationships and how they interact with their customers. The pandemic has encouraged customers to return to the businesses that have made changes within the organization and that have altered services to fit its current demand. Also, being digitally available has been vital during a time of limited face-to-face collaboration. In fact, this has changed the way customers interact with brands, which is a huge part of the customer journey. An important consideration is that customer-centricity has evolved to become all about the customer demand and how they want to interact with the business, rather than a business’s products and offerings.

Achieving customer-centricity accelerates growth

Following a customer-centric approach is the future, and allows businesses to anticipate what channel partner customers want and need. Creating not only services and offerings that suit the current demands, but ones that are designed to help its partners as well. This will be key to growing and nurturing an organization.

In today’s workplace, employees are shaping cultures, rather than employees. This will determine the overall customer experience, so aligning customer-centric thinking employees to front-facing roles will be very important and impact the level of customer service for a business. The adage that ‘people buy from people’ has never been more crucial and it is essential that employees treat partners as customers, rather than sales numbers and targets to reach. Developing a relationship with each and every customer will bring significant benefits to a business and will establish a strong foundation for more successful leads.

To encourage and connect a culture that achieves positive partnerships, decision-makers should motivate a customer-centric strategy by implementing benefits, rewards and supporting its employees. After all, a business that is struggling to become customer-centric can quickly become a negative working environment, especially in the sales and marketing teams. Alignment between culture and customer needs is crucial for synchronicity and must be addressed as a priority.

Shifting towards a fully customer-centric business can be more challenging than initially believed, and requires commitment and patience from decision-makers during its transition. However, simply making the smallest changes and implementing the correct policies can create significant benefits for both employees and customers, and can be implemented immediately.

Becoming a customer-centric business will be the key to unlocking employees’ true potential and creating customer loyalty as the organization evolves, acting as a vital part of its progression in the years ahead. If employees are empowered to be empathetic to partners’ needs, they are more likely to do well. Once that is in place, customer satisfaction and business growth will soon follow.

By: Richard Eglon, Chief Marketing Officer at Agilitas.