Customer centricity sounds like a buzzword, but whereas many buzzwords are empty air, this one describes a highly effective strategy your tech business can harness to find stability in a highly volatile industry.
We know because we have been customer centric from day 1. We were customer centric before the term existed. In fact, the idea for our company came from our focus on the customer.
This orientation has led us to make some sacrifices for our core customers.
In B2C markets, customer centricity starts with gathering data on consumer behavior and identifying those customers who will generate the greatest lifetime value. You can develop new products to suit this core group, but it does not hurt when other customers also purchase your products.
Consumer centricity for middle-market B2B is different. Each transaction requires an investment on the sellers’ side, which has led us to refer prospective clients to other firms when they are not potential long-term clients. Here is why.
The Paradox of Customer Centricity for Small and Mid-Sized B2B
One of our clients was focused on buying the cheapest phone solution out there. They searched and eventually purchased a “top-switch” in the market. The price was extremely attractive ($2,000), so they brought it back to us and requested an installation.
When we looked at the system, we saw it had the core functionality our client required. We installed it for them and started offering the top-switch to our other clients. In a short period of time, we sold 3 top-switches. Business was booming. But as is typical with cheap tech products, the units disappointed after installation, requiring regular maintenance and difficulties on the client side. Everyone jumped at the price, but they were unhappy with the results. We ended up giving them the $5,000 systems they should have bought from the beginning. That experience taught us an important lesson about our company values. Even though we have benefitted from focusing on what the customer wants, we also need to be disciplined about budgeting. We focus on value, not on price. And the strategy has resulted in 97% total satisfaction. In customer-centric terminology, that means we prefer to work with core customers. We recently that did not share our focus on value.