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Do you have a human-centered organization?

Part of a brand’s success relies on its ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Societies shift and mutate constantly, and businesses need to stay in touch with trends and new habits that arise in the communities they serve.

Customer-centricity is a strategy that is commonly defined as putting the customer first, instead of putting the product first.

Human-centricity, by extension, is another timely but complex shift that businesses can undertake. Putting the human first, instead of just the customer, underlines the increasing importance for brands to create a meaningful relationship with their customers, but also with their employees.

Employees play a major role in validating a company’s human-centric policy. Brands cannot only create, market and sell useful products, nor can they consider employees as just a labour force, for customers as well as workers, the human-centric business has to assess the contribution of its brand to their well-being, and communicate and deploy the purpose of the brand or business.

A human - centered organization:

  • focuses on creating better human experiences

  • builds resilience and de-risks innovation through continuous interaction and learning

  • cares as much about the experience of its diverse, empowered teams as it does about its customers

  • actively embeds these principles into the fabric of the organization

“Customer centricity is about understanding your customer in-depth. You can only learn why customers buy from you if you go into qualitative research.” - Maike Buhr, Business and Marketing Strategy Consultant

Five key points to keep in mind while being customer focused

1. Thinking like a customer

Customer-centric approaches try to see the world from the customer’s point of view, which is an inside-out point of view. Approaches like programmatic advertising, A/B testing and NPS metrics are customer focused. Approaches based on co-creation, ethnography, and motivations tend to be customer centric.

Focus group interviews, even if they are not a recent method, can with the right question technique and active listening give valuable insights.

The next level up would be designing the products with the customers. Why not include the person you are designing for in the process.

2. Dealing with needs, not wants

We’re living in the VUCA world and the customer is changing consequently. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Very common term nowadays as consumers are dealing with more ambiguity than ever.

3. Provide solutions, not just products/services

Customer-focused marketing tries to identify which products and services match the wants from each customer and try to create a complete solution. By thinking like the customer, by understanding needs as well as wants, a customer-centric company can ensure that the long-term experience of the customer is optimized. It’s about sharing the purpose, not just the brand, it’s what will make the people buy-in.

4. Focus on customer lifetime value, not one transaction

It’s essential to take care of your customers both before and after they make a purchase. The building blocks of this care are enabling them to feel comfortable using your product, staying proactive, and replying to them on time. Another way to improve CLV is to increase average order value. You can achieve this taking advantage of up- and cross-sell methods. Next time when your customer is making a purchase you could offer them a complementary product to those they’re just about to buy.

5. Be proactive, not reactive

Customer-focused companies tend to chase the customer, seeking to please everybody who walks through the door and seeking to match the product/services on sale with each customer. These companies are focusing on core customer groups, identifying needs, not just wants, and seeking to solve problems. This is a strategic approach and encourages the company to work with customers to co-create the future.

Keys to growing human centered businesses

There are three key pillars to being a human-centric organization. All three must be central in an organization’s daily functions.

Build purpose around improving society. The central goal must be to meet a need people have, not just to make money.

Build jobs of the future. A human-centered business will build jobs that can’t be taken over by robots, AI, or machine learning in the foreseeable future. This means creating roles in the organization for people to employ uniquely human skills, like creativity, communication, and empathy.

Manage a human-centered culture. To attract and retain employees and drive maximum productivity, companies need to support psychological safety, foster a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives, and create opportunities for employees to feel engaged and heard.

When all of these elements are in place, rewards follow. People-centric workplaces see many benefits: higher organizational growth and profits, committed and engaged employees, and more satisfied customers.

. . .

A company is an aggregate of human beings working towards a common goal, addressing other human beings who have specific needs, values and demands.

Over the past few decades, thanks to an increased awareness of social and environmental issues, businesses have had to adapt from a product-centric to a customer-centric and over time to a human-centric approach.

Now, more than ever, putting humans at the heart of a company’s interests, investments and values is key to preserving one’s competitive relevance.

Watch or listen to the dialogue “Human-Centered Strategy” on YouTube and Spotify

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