Being customer-centric is on trend. 68% of U.S. business leaders consider customer-centricity to be the most important business strategy for the future. But which companies are really customer-centric? Take a look at the top 10 examples of customer-centric companies.
Customer-centricity has become one of the most important business strategies of the last five years. According to 2020 data, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than non-customer-centric companies.
Being customer-centric is basically thinking about the customer. Putting the customer at the center of all business decisions and strategies and focusing business objectives on the needs of the customer, rather than on the needs of the company.
Customer-centric companies are those that base their philosophy, their activity and even their brand image and values on what the customer wants and needs.
As we explored in our article on the 10 habits of customer-centric companies according to Gartner, customer-centric companies have common aspects:
In practice, this means:
1. Active listening to the voice of the customer: Customer-centric companies listen to the voice of the customer (VoC) in all their touch points and transform the customer insights obtained into actions to better serve their customers.
Voice of the Customer listening technologies will be essential in 2022. The Customer Data Platform (CDP) is one of the most advanced tools for integrating customer data and transforming customer data into end-to-end customer strategies. If you want to learn more about CDPs, download our e-book: "CDP: A Step Closer to Customer-Centricity".
2. Optimal customer experience. Nearly matching the importance that executives give to customer-centricity, 64% of companies believe that customer experience is the most effective strategy for improving customer lifetime value. Today, consumers consider their experience when purchasing a product or service is as important as the quality of the product or service.
3. Personalization. Personalization is one of the most used techniques by customer-centric organizations. Whether it is content personalization, personalized customer experiences or personalized products, personalization is, without a doubt, one of the most significant marketing strategies in recent years.
4. New values, transparency and corporate culture. Customer-centric companies are taking a step forward in terms of business culture. More and more companies are committing to transparency and the promotion of the new majoritary workforce's values, focused on social impact, sustainable production and the way companies treat their employees.
Below are some of the companies that best meet these characteristics. Some are well-known examples of customer-centric companies, but we also pay attention to lesser-known brands that are using innovation to offer a better service to their consumers.
Top 10 examples of customer-centric companies
We open this list with a spanish brand born in 2013 that has grown tremendously in recent years. Cocunat is the perfect example that a quality product plus an optimal digital marketing strategy equals success.
Cocunat sells natural hair and skin care products. Its added value is that its products do not contain any chemicals and the brand knows exactly how to communicate it.
Cocunat took advantage of the 'curly method' boom to develop a content marketing campaign in social media and managed to position itself as the main curly method reference in Spain.
On the other hand, the company relies on advertising through influencers, taking advantage of its young audience's role models. The company definitely knows its customers. Not only do they connect with their values and interests, but they also know their consumption and entertainment habits and offer them exactly what they want. Just look at their brand image and the design of their website and social media profiles.
Cocunat has also been working on customer loyalty, offering clients the possibility of joining the Cocunat Community to receive discounts and better deals.
We now focus on a really well-known example of a customer-centric company. Surprise, surprise. It's Amazon.
Amazon is certainly one of the most famous examples of customer-centricity. Jeff Bezos ddefinitely knew how to build a customer-centric business model. In fact, on Amazon's website can read the following: "Amazon strives to be the most customer-centric company on Earth, the best employer on Earth, and the safest workplace on Earth."
Amazon is constantly innovating with new ways to provide a better service and a better experience or its customers through an extremely customer-friendly returns service and one-day shipping service, among many other things.
In addition, personalization is also one of its key strategies. According to recent data, personalized recommendations drive 35% of Amazon's total sales.
Obviously, not all companies can access and analyze customer data at Amazon's. However, if there is one thing we can learn from them is that knowing our customers and personalization is key in 2022.
Finally, the e-commerce giant also knows that reviews are one of the factors that most influence customers when making a purchase. That's why Amazon highlights reviews on all its products and sends an automatic email to all customers asking them to write a review once they have received the product.
Ikea is another company that makes an effort to offer an optimal customer experience in both its physical and online stores.
Ikea stores create an immersive experience where the customer can not only shop, but also spend the day. They offer food, rest areas and free childcare. Some even say they only go to Ikea to eat their famous meatballs.
Ikea's online store is also an example of innovation in the customer experience. Through Ikea's app, IKEA Place, clients can place life-size 3D holograms of furniture or search for the ideal piece through their smartphone's camera.
Beyond the customer experience, Ikea has also applied a customer-centric perspective in its advertising campaigns that, rather than talking about its products, talk about the customer. An example of this is the iconic spot they launched in 2008 with the slogan: "Welcome to the independent republic of your home".
4. L'Oréal Paris
L'Oréal Paris has also opted for innovation and artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience. Specifically, the French multinational has launched L'Oréal Perso, an intelligent app through which customers can, for example, try on different foundations to find their shade without having to go to the physical store or create their own shade.
In addition, Perso also recommends specific products to consumers based on their skin type. All they have to do is upload a photo of their face and the app recognizes wrinkles, dark spots, enlarged pores or acne.
Guive Balooch, vice president of L'Oreal Technology Incubator, explains it this way: <<The app takes into account the current environmental factors, including API (air pollution information) [...] The app then sends a “recipe” to Perso that calculates the proper ratio of moisturizer, SPF and glow. [...] While these aren’t factors that change on a daily basis, the app will create a weekly or monthly diary to build a ‘skin management system’ that tracks how the skin evolves over time to insure a ‘smart’ relation with the cartridges.>>
Patagonia is an American brand that sells clothing for outdoor sports. One of the differentiating aspects of this brand and, surely, the cause of its success, is their absolute transparency and their commitment to sustainability, which they communicate in an excellent way through digital marketing.
The brand's own website includes an 'Activism' section as well as explicit information on the production process of all products, where they name the factories where they produce and publish their 'Code of Conduct for Suppliers'.
Customers trust the brand because in addition to communicating its sustainable responsibility, they demonstrate it through actions. For example, Patagonia has declared its opposition to fast fashion and the sale of spare products. Instead, the brand has created manuals to repair its damaged or aged products to reduce the amount of waste they generate.
On the other hand, its corporate culture is also revolutionary. So much so that many refer to the brand as a "non-business". Patagonia's corporate culture is characterized by an extraordinarily low turnover rate (4%), as well as offering employees the opportunity to take two payed months off to support an environmental organization.
Source: Fenty Beauty
When Rihanna announced her jump into the entrepreneurial world in 2017 through her own makeup brand, few expected that the singer would be able to turn Fenty Beauty into one of the top-rated makeup brands on the market.
However, Rihanna's business vision has always been customer-centric and she immediately understood that she had to create her own companies to offer customers what other brands were not giving them.
When she launched Fenty Beauty, she immediately surprised the world with a foundation that came in 50 different shades. Rihanna's will was to make sure that everyone could find their shade, something usually difficult for darker and lighter skins.
Not content with only makeup and skincare, Rihanna also launched her own underwear brand, Savage X Fenty, in 2018. Savage X Fenty revolutionized the underwear market thanks to its inclusive marketing and advertising content, promoting the items through a show in which, in addition to celebrities, the cast of models was formed by women and men of all sizes and ethnicities, as well as people with functional diversity.
According to Rihanna the purpose of Savage X Fenty is to make all women and men feel sexy.
7. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Source: Hilton Honors
If we talk about innovative digital customer experiences, we must talk about Hilton.
In recent years, the hotel company has developed a customer-centric strategy focused on customer loyalty through the 'Hilton Honors' membership, which offers rewards to regular customers and already has more than 115 million members.
The brand is also going for a better customer experience through the Hilton Honors app, where customers can make reservations, check in and check out without waiting, order food, choose a room and even unlock the room or elevator doors with their cell phone.
8. Happy Returns
Happy Returns, a U.S. company founded in 2015, is another example of a business model focused on offering customers what they need and what the market does not provide.
Happy Returns sells a return service so that e-commerce customers do not have to go through the exhausting process of returning unwanted items.
Happy Returns understood that one of the processes that most hinder the customer experience of e-commerce companies is the return process, which is often extremely complicated for the customer. Thus, the company offers simple and fast return options to customers.
Taking advantage of the e-commerce boom during the pandemic, the brand partnered with the logistics company FedEx to offer its customers the possibility of making returns through QR codes.
Coca-Cola is an example of an historically leading company that never stops reinventing itself. In this case we pay attention to its 2021 marketing campaign in which the company opted for product marketing, replacing the brand's name with the customer's name on its Coca-cola cans with the slogan 'Share a coke'.
This is a simple but powerful customer engagement strategy, in which Coca-Cola proves they understand what it means to talk about the customer instead of talking about the brand.
Nordstrom is a U.S. clothing, footwear and accessories brand that has recently invested in technologies that drive customer-centricity.
Specifically, Nordstrom has gone for exhaustive knowledge about its customers through the Nordstrom Analytics Platform (NAP), which analyses customer data. They then transform the information into personalization strategies.
Nordstrom Analytics Platform uses artificial intelligence models to predict customers' shopping preferences and transforming them into KPIs. Nordstrom's AI algorithms analyze natural language conversations and social media images to identify behavioral patterns among consumers.
Do you want to be closer to your customers? Become a customer-centric company. How?