Having a customer-first mindset is touted as a good thing. It ensures your company focuses on the needs of your customer base, adapting to them as required.
However, a customer-first mentality, when improperly implemented, can also set your company up for disaster. It may cause you to compromise your core values, lose your overall focus, and even hinder your operations.
By following a few best practices, you can ensure your customer-centric mindset works for you instead of against you. If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few dos and don’ts of a customer-first mentality.
Do Learn About Your Customer
If you want to have a customer-first approach, you need a clear picture of who your customer actually is and who it isn’t. Often, companies get feedback from a wide range of individuals, some of whom may not be part of your target market.
By learning about your real customer base (both current and targeted), you can make sure you keep them in mind. This keeps your customer-first mindset focused on your actual primary market, ensuring that you aren’t overly swayed by outliers.
Don’t Deprioritize Your Company
Just because you’re embracing a customer-first mentality doesn’t mean your company has to take a back seat. The idea is to bring these two concepts together, ensuring the customer and the business are critical priorities.
As you make decisions, balance keeping your customers happy with ensuring the success of your company. The idea isn’t to proceed to your own detriment. In the end, your employees, shareholders, suppliers, and other business-side connections need to be satisfied, too. Make sure that everyone benefits from your approaches.
Do Put Yourself in Customers’ Shoes
Empathy is a powerful tool. When you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, you increase your ability to understand their perspective. That can be critical if a customer interaction is going south.
Consider why a customer may be feeling as they do, and try not to take anything personally. There can be a lot that spurs any particular incident. By embracing empathy, you may be able to see beyond what’s happening at that moment, allowing you to determine why the customer is reacting in a specific fashion and how to navigate the situation successfully.
Don’t Overdo It
If you’re new to the customer-first mindset, you may have a tendency to take it a bit far. You might assume that every interaction needs to be stellar, going above and beyond the call of duty. Usually, that isn’t the case.
Instead, the goal is to leave customers feeling positive about their dealings with your company. They don’t have to be ecstatic for the interaction to be a success. Simply feeling pleased, satisfied, or content can be enough.
Do Be Receptive
A critical part of a customer-first mentality involves making sure customers feel heard. By being open to their input, even if you ultimately don’t agree with everything, you are creating a better experience.
Make sure that customers can communicate with you easily. Embrace multiple communication channels for feedback. Respond to comments and critiques, letting the customer know that what they shared has been viewed by a staff member. If you see something worth considering, examine it to see if a change in that area is a smart move.
Don’t Forget to Draw the Line
With a customer-first culture, there can be a tendency to do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy. However, without proper boundaries, this could lead your company to take actions that are harmful to the business.
Let your employees know what powers they do have to ensure customer satisfaction, separating it by job level. What your frontline customer service team can offer should be relatively limited, ensuring that, if the customer asks for something big that would be costly or cumbersome, it moves up to a supervisor or manager.
Remember, just because you’re customer-centric doesn’t mean the customer is always right. Consider how far you are willing to go for most common scenarios. If something unexpected occurs, ensure it goes up the chain before action is taken. That way, you aren’t simply bending to every customer’s whims. Instead, you’re making beneficial, strategic decisions, ensuring you remain on the pathway toward success.