Customer-centric Marketing: It’s About More Than the Conversion Rate
Now, more than ever, businesses need to address customer expectations before anything else. At the digital frontline, we see businesses across sectors innovating. And in some cases, imitating, with the aim of finding a customer-centric marketing balance. The message is clear: brands need to focus on the customer before the conversion.
Why are some businesses, once so focused on their own needs and objectives, now looking to serve their customer’s needs? And if your business is yet to explore this style of customer engagement, where should you start?
When businesses swim in pools of big data, it’s easy to forget that numbers represent human beings. Start your customer-centric quest by making that very clear distinction. You’re a human. You’re also a consumer. If a business spoke to you like a number, you wouldn’t be too thrilled. Aim to interact with customers at a personal level. It’s really not a one-size-fits-all generic UX approach.
Need some more convincing? In 2018, 76% of UK adults say positive customer experience is more important than the product. Our experience of building digital strategies shows that taking a more customer-centric approach is often the change factor that improves performance. In fact, research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable.
A cross-channel approach is critical to the success of customer-centric marketing. This means that all your digital activities feed into your wider marketing efforts, rather than working in isolation.
Consistent brand voice and experience is key for good customer experience. It’s madness to divide activities and risk diluting performance. We’ve found this to be particularly true in the retail sector.
Let’s take a look at the CEE top 100 2016 by KPMG and Nunwood. In this nifty little graph below you’ll see business growth of the top-performing companies by sector.
Behind The Research
To add a little background to the findings, KPMG/Nunwood based their research around six key pillars – Empathy, Time and Effort, Resolution, Expectations, Integrity and Personalisation.
These pillars are all key factors that contribute to customer experience, where brands can excel, or fall short.
- Empathy – Achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive deep rapport
- Time and Effort – Minimising customer effort and creating frictionless processes
- Resolution – Turning a poor experience into a great one
- Expectations – Managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations
- Integrity – Being trustworthy and engendering trust
- Personalisation – Using individualised attention to drive an emotional connection
These factors form the basis of most hypotheses used to increase conversion rates.
The point here, however, is that the conversion rate is not the metric used. Instead, the chart uses information gathered directly from consumers.
If you dedicate time to engaging with customers and collecting first-party research, you can unlock the true potential of your business. By engaging customers to actively feedback on core competencies or pillars, you better understand how to meet their needs, fuelling growth.
Looking at the top retail brands mentioned in CEE top 100 research, you can see the impact of digital retail experience. Let’s look at the top five retail non-grocery retailers and see how they handle the pillars of customer-centric marketing.
1. Hassle-Free Login
In terms of reducing user effort, Lush is squeaky clean. Just take a look at the size of their login boxes. How many times do you find yourself on a site, squinting to type in your email and password? Lush recognises that the customer comes first, time is precious and this kind of UX shows that.
2. Here Are Our Digits
This wouldn’t be a CRO blog post without a mention of John Lewis. They’re known for being switched on with CRO and their third place here is no surprise.
Empathy can be very subtle in the online journey. John Lewis understands their customers and what frustrates them. Most businesses would be concerned with keeping user focus and purchases online.
Not John Lewis. See that contact number? It’s available throughout the online process. It acknowledges that some customers just want to speak to another human or visit a store.
Trust is a big part of customer experience and in 2019, it’s a hard thing to keep a grip on. In the past, review platforms such as Trustpilot have come under scrutiny for the trustworthiness of customer reviews. We know that consumers are now less trusting of these types of platforms and trust is becoming increasingly difficult to gain and maintain.
This means it’s more important than ever to have testimonials from sources that potential customers trust.
Richer Sounds use lots of third party reviews and trademarks to show product quality. This type of signalling also reduces the need for users to go offsite to check for other reviews.
4. Community Matters
QVC is known for its cheesetastic shopping channel. But who would’ve thought that the brand could be so good at customer-centric marketing? They’ve built an online community to help grow brand engagement. Within this community, they share stories where you can interact with the sellers at the forefront of the brand. This increases brand engagement and promotes brand loyalty too.
5. Something For *Nothing
Registering with a site is a pretty basic part of online journeys. AO exceeds expectations by giving new customers a discount just for completing this simple task. And that money for nothing makes an impact with an online shopper.
What these brands show is a real willingness to please the customer. The actions above are designed to help customers to overcome frustrations rather than give them the hard sell. There’s a focus on the customer, whether it’s helping them to find the products they need or building their trust.
Customer-centric marketing may seem like 2016’s buzzword, but make no mistake, pleasing customers will always be the main requirement of any online business. We’re already seeing that businesses who respond to the opportunities of customer-centric marketing are rewarded with the results they achieve.
The bottom line? Improve your customers’ experience through customer-centric marketing, and conversion rates will follow…
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