What Does It Mean To Be Customer-Oriented? (Plus Benefits)
Serving customers is one of the most important aspects of running a business because customers help keep a business operating. Dedicating a business to serving customers can help establish trust and loyalty, which may increase profitability and brand awareness. Understanding how to become customer-oriented may help you establish your brand as an industry leader for quality and service. In this article, we explain what it means for a business to be customer-oriented, the benefits of customer-oriented company culture, steps for how to be customer-oriented and provide examples of customer-oriented businesses.
What does it mean to be customer-oriented?
Being customer-oriented means a business operates around the wants and needs of its customers, using tools like customer feedback to improve its public image and provide value to consumers. Brands that focus on helping customers may achieve greater loyalty and experience higher employee satisfaction. A customer-oriented business can create a company culture that focuses on addressing customer needs, providing maximum value and developing and supporting its employees. Having satisfied and well-trained employees can help you provide quality customer service.
Benefits of being customer-oriented
There are many benefits for brands that are customer-oriented, including:
Increased customer trust
Customers may be more likely to trust brands that value their customers. Brands might increase customer trust by providing excellent services and products, answering customer concerns and changing meaningfully to better support its customers. For example, if you greet your customers using their first names, you can make your customers feel more welcomed and appreciated. In addition, providing a money-back guarantee for products that customers want to return may help you show that your business wants to assist customers with their needs.
More satisfied employees
With a customer-oriented business culture, you can support your employees and potentially create more satisfaction for them in their jobs. When customers are more satisfied with their brand experience, employees may have more positive interactions with them. This can help create good relationships between customers and employees.
For example, after training employees to be customer-oriented, you might notice that your employees are more willing to work extra hours and assist more customers. Customers may then be excited to work with pleasant, respectful employees who value their jobs and customer experiences.
Greater product sales
A trustworthy company with friendly, customer-oriented employees may also experience greater sales. By establishing trust and loyalty through excellent customer service, you can show customers that your brand brings them personal value, which may encourage them to purchase your products or services.
For example, you may create and develop long-term relationships with customers through excellent communication, customer service and company awareness. Customers may appreciate these efforts and frequent your business more often.
Better industry standards
Having a customer-oriented culture might allow you to establish quality and service standards for your industry. By creating products or services with high value, you may have more satisfied customers. These customers might expect the same standards from the rest of the industry, which may influence other companies to be customer-oriented and provide high-quality products and services.
For example, you might have a clothing line made from sustainable materials, which helps you produce high-quality products for your customers. As your company grows and attracts a larger audience, you might influence other brands to follow sustainable practices. This can allow you to create a positive influence on your industry and individual customers.
How to be customer-oriented
Learning to be customer-oriented can help your business grow and establish lasting relationships with customers. Here's a how-to guide on becoming customer-oriented as a business:
1. Train employees to value customers
It's important to train your employees to value customer experiences. Consider doing this training during the onboarding process so that your employees can clearly understand how to take care of your customers. You can also reinforce these ideas and values throughout the employees' time with the company to help them consistently provide high-quality service.
Here are some tips for training employees to be customer-oriented:
Encourage communication: Encourage employees to communicate with customers to learn what they like about the brand and what they'd like to see improve. Good communication can help the customer feel the company values their opinions and experiences.
Create a positive workplace: A positive workplace with supportive employees may better serve customers. To help create this type of workplace, you might encourage team leaders and supervisors to give praise or rewards to employees who practice excellent customer service.
Encourage empathy: Empathy can help employees better understand how customers feel, which can help them serve customers more effectively. This is because an empathetic approach can allow employees to better understand the customer's perspective, which can give them a more objective view.
2. Value customer-oriented thinking
It's important to ensure that customer-oriented thinking is one of your company's fundamental values, both internally and externally, because when customers know your brand is customer-oriented, they may recognize that your company listens to their concerns and provides them with positive experiences. You can also show that your business is customer-oriented by providing excellent customer support and resources, focusing your company's development around customer needs and interacting with customers online and in-store.
Related: How To Grow Your Customer Base
3. Train and support leadership personnel
Businesses with a customer-oriented culture should focus resources on training to support their leadership personnel and create a solid framework for their companies. Managers lead companies and typically set an example for company goals and values. You can learn about your managers and their needs by hosting meetings where they can share comments and feedback. Consider providing training and incentive programs for their professional development to help them increase their skill sets and provide value to customers.
4. Participate in the local community
A business that wants to become customer-oriented might encourage its employees to participate in the local community. Businesses that partner with community outreach programs, schools and other programs may increase their brand awareness and public image. Taking part in community programs can help reinforce the idea that your company cares about its customers. For example, donating funds or supplies to the local school system can show customers you support education which might help your brand's image.
Related: 20 Customer Service Tips
Examples of customer-oriented businesses
Here are examples of customer-oriented businesses:
Here is an example of a clothing company that uses sustainable resources:
Brave Lads Clothing, LLC is an Illinois company that produces clothing from hemp and leads the state in hemp products. The company expands its lineup to include wellness products, such as hemp edibles and oils. The company experiences a challenge when customers note that imported hemp lacks the same quality standards as locally grown hemp. Locally grown hemp also helps boost the local economy by creating new jobs.
In response, Brave Lads stops importing hemp immediately and refocuses its brand around 100% organic, domestically grown hemp. The company listens to customers and improves its products and services to better meet the customers' needs.
Here is an example of a financial services organization that helps the underprivileged:
Inequity Financial Services, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides free financial services for underprivileged members of society. The company trains its employees during the onboarding process to embody the values of the business, which are compassion, empathy and helpfulness. Every employee attends diversity and sensitivity training and receives a competitive salary. Additional training and educational reimbursement packages are also available for employees who want to further develop their skills.
The company maintains a five-star rating from its customers and one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry. This is largely because of the company's continued support of both employees and the people it serves.
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