Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.

15 ways to make your organization more consumer centric

If you want a loyal customer base that keeps coming back, you need to put consumers at the center of everything you do.

Many companies claim that their customers are their top priority. While it would be nice to say that there is a difference between simply serving what the customer asks for and being a truly consumer focused organization.

Consumers today expect that the companies they buy from will go the extra mile to ensure an experience that exceeds their expectations. To help your company focus more on the consumer, 15 members of Newsweek’s expert forum have provided their best tips below.

1. Reprioritizing organizational focus

Reprioritize the organization’s focus from profit to people. It is the only way to make the organization consumer centric. Somehow companies have so far shifted to profit first so that relationships are no longer fostered. The old adage that people buy from those they love will never steer the company in the wrong direction. – Jan Tian, ‚Äč‚ÄčEnergetics of Being LLC

2. Proactively provide consumer needs

Hearing what consumers want is essential, but more important is understanding what they want but haven’t said. As a company, you have to fulfill needs that the consumer has not yet declared. The entire organization has to be on the same page to do this. You can’t have marketing trying to reach a need different than sales or customer service, and you can’t have a CEO out of reach. – Rebecca Woodbury Keeler, Gravitas Publications / Nachokat LLC

3. Incorporating mental wellness into the company culture

Prioritize mental health and effectively integrate it into the company culture. When employees and leaders experience burnout and negative feedback, customer opinions and needs become a distant priority. Providing tools and resets to encourage self-awareness and care are essential components of generating productivity and positive mindsets. – Lea Maron, Lea Maron, MSW, LCSW

4. Consider the customer’s voice at every stage

Building a consumer-centric organization begins by considering the voice of the customer in everything you do. If you are designing a new product, ask customers what they want. If you are upgrading a service, think about how beneficial it will be to your customers. Finally, if you are losing customers, be humble and figure out why and then address the issues. – Gregory Thomas, 375 Park Associates

5. We constantly strive to better meet the needs of consumers

Constantly ask yourself what you do to deliver solutions that meet your customers’ needs. If what you offer today is not what ultimately serves them, feel free to retool what you offer to better meet their needs. All companies ultimately exist to serve their customers – and have to earn money to continue doing so – but they don’t exist just to take their hard-earned money from consumers. – April (Margulies) White, Relationships of Trust

6. Consider the consumer’s point of view

Design your product or service from the customer’s perspective. Often, companies design processes, systems, and training programs for internal ease or efficiency. Consumer-centric organizations absorb customer complexity by finding intuitive ways to make the consumer experience great, even if it means more work, more steps, and more costs for the company. – Reed Deschler, AlignOrg Solutions

7. Understanding the end customer

Often times, focusing on customers makes people focus on the employees who deal with customers, but this is a huge mistake. My experience in senior roles, for example, developing entrepreneurial leadership at UBS, is that everyone needs to understand the end customer. They need to be fully aware of customer needs and meet with customers so they can understand how they can really support customer-facing teams effectively. – Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

8. Adding a consumer focus to the corporate culture

Building a consumer-focused organizational culture. All too often, organizations, especially as they grow, lose the importance of one of their most important assets: customers! This can be a costly mistake that may push customers to competing service providers. Building this consumer-centric focus into your culture ensures that it remains a core principle of the organization over time. – Yisrael Tannenbaum, Withhum

9. Find out what’s important to consumers

Make sure to build your connections first around what is most important to them, not to you. When you provide the service, make sure that you focus on the interests and needs of the consumers and focus on providing value to them there. While you may have your own agenda, theirs will always come first. Chris Tompkins, Go! Agency

10. Get the character

We use a high-end brand of HR software that allows us to engage with our employees. For example, for bonuses and overtime, it sends out emails with the employee’s name and some kind of motivation like “Keep up the good work, Ben” or “Hooray!” A little acknowledgment goes a long way. – Tami’s children TN Nursery

11. Take customer feedback into the account

Feedback is the intersection of opportunity and growth. Ensuring that there are strategies in place to effectively solicit customer feedback is an effective way to make an organization consumer-centric. This can be done through surveys, face-to-face customer interactions, or social media posts. It shows customers that you care about their views and gives them a sense of ownership. David Kasten and David Kasten & Co

12. Determine the most important services

Identify the services that are most important to end users or customers and direct your organization to align with those services. If you can align your organization with these services, you will be able to effectively manage, manage and lead strategic decisions with customer focus at the forefront. – Nita Kohli, Kohli . Consultants

13. Make smart hiring choices

You have to hire people who are obsessed with customers. If you hire people who are already built to put the consumer first, the company will naturally become more consumer focused because your employees will do better for customers by default. They will only feel successful when your customers are successful, which is something that benefits both the organization and the consumer. – David Wright, Style

14. Recruiting former clients

Hire people who were clients before. Their expertise can help a company adapt processes, procedures, and an overall approach to achieve ultimate customer satisfaction. – Krisztina Veres, Veres Career Consulting

15. Ensure management understands consumer complaints

Many in senior management forget about consumers and never hear how their product or service is understood or used. They just think that all of their employees deal with any problems. However, there is a significant disconnect between the complaint received through customer service and having it resolvable in middle and upper management. – Baruch Labonsky, safe rank

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