The customer-centric approach to business is the most sustainable, successful and viable way you can run your business. Except for many business owners, they are too focused on their product to understand the people they’re creating the product for.

At Knowledge Lab, we are constantly working with different companies and businesses to optimize their company.

The first question we ask: what does success look like for their customer?

It’s an outside-in approach that creates significant change to your business, because it moves the focus from what you do, to whom you do it for. Success for a business is often calculated by their own interests; very rarely the customer’s. By shifting this process, they could very well realise that both the business and customer can be successful. No business solution will be the same, however, in fact, just like being customer-centric is founded on uniqueness, so is each approach to each business.

I’m inspired by how each different business responds – so much so, that in February Knowledge Lab will be hosting a one-day Lab with some of the world’s best thought leaders in customer-centric approaches. With speakers from Hong Kong, Canada and the US, and businesses such as TD Bank, foodora and Citi Fintech represented, it will truly be an insight into the different approach to innovative thinking and industry insights.

However, to get your own business started on the customer-centric approach, here are are some key points to read about and more importantly, relate your business to.

Data – to inform, not affirm

A lot of businesses use data to affirm what they’re doing. However, data should instead be used to inform a business on what their customer is doing, not whether their product or process is successful. Data should be looked at in its nuances, having it tell you a story not of your product, but of the person buying it. By gaining these kinds of insights you’re able to learn what needs to happen in order to become more customer-centric, and what processes a person goes through to choose your product. More importantly, it will tell you what you can do to make sure that customer buys again.

The whole process

A lot of businesses see their customer-service as starting when a customer walks into the store or when they use your product, however it starts long before that. There is a concept we discuss called ‘Moments of Truth’ – where you start the process around customer interactions and work backward to build that process around their needs. Every time your product directly or indirectly interacts with a customer, it creates a moment of truth. It creates an opportunity for your company to shine, and make or break the customer experience. This includes advertising, marketing and the most important of them all: word of mouth. It’s important to phrase who your business is so that your customer has already created a moment of truth before they’ve even walked in, picked up your product or said hello. Remember, it’s not about what you want your customer to know, but what they need to hear from you.

It’s about Culture

The most important thing you need to remember about being customer-centric is that it’s about a company culture. No matter how many people you have on your team, if you want to be truly customer-centric, you need to reflect the approach from the reception to the CEO and everyone in between. Customer-centricity is all-in, every touch point of a business needs to reflect it. A culture can make or break a business, and a customer-centric approach can keep that business successful. Combine the two positively, and you’re bound to have a sustainable working environment that isn’t just focused on what you do, but who you do it for.

A customer-centric approach is multi-faceted, with myriad options and responses for each and every business. I encourage you to use these key points as starters in the discussion around your business, and ask – what can you do to become more customer-centric?