Running a small business is tough. It’s likely that you have a zillion different things going on in any given moment. You may be juggling multiple projects, managing different ventures, and running a bunch of different departments. The second you take your marketing hat off, it’s time to put your accounting hat on. With so many plates spinning, it can be easy to forget the reason you started this thing in the first place – to help your customers.

A customer-centric business is one that puts its customers first, no matter what. Customer-centric businesses are able to save time and money because they spend less time looking for new customers and more time building relationships with the customers they already have. These businesses make decisions with their customers in mind. They’re passionate about serving their target market, and they want to serve in ways that go far beyond improving their bottom line.

A customer-centric business operates on the following principles:

Listen more than you talk

You have a great idea for a new product. It has bells and whistles. It’s bigger, faster, better than its predecessor. You can’t wait for your customers to try it because you think they’re going to love it!

But when you launch the product, no one’s buying. Why? Because you weren’t listening to your customers. Even if you think a product is really cool and your customers should want it, that doesn’t mean they do want it.

Find out what your customers really want, and then solve that need or problem with your product. Do market research, create surveys, read blogs and forum posts, or pick up the phone and start dialing.

By basing your business on what your customers truly want, as opposed to what you think they should want, you’ll begin to reap the benefits of true customer service.

Do whatever it takes to make it right

The order didn’t ship. The soup was cold. The website design doesn’t match their specifications.

When you disappoint your customer, you have an incredible opportunity to win them back for life by doing whatever it takes to make it right. Spending a few dollars now to fix a mistake can make you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the customer relationship – that is, if you can get them to stay.

So replace the broken lamp for free. Give them free shipping for six months. Do whatever it takes to fix the problem and prove to your customer that their patronage matters to you. When you go above and beyond, your customer feels valued and their loyalty grows.

Focus on “the why”

The customer-centric business owner knows that the purpose behind their business is not making money. Revenue is simply a by-product of service. When you know why you’re serving your customers, as opposed to just what you’re serving them, you connect with customers on a human level. That connection is the priceless, irreplaceable X factor that can never be replicated by the competition.

What makes your business customer-centric?

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