Customer orientation, the key to replacing a well with a mountain

I love the descriptive power of this phrase by Eduard Punset, which summarizes the objective of many of us on a personal, emotional or professional level before this year begins.

2012 is presented as a difficult year, at the same time exciting. It comes surrounded by a certain aura of curse due to the interpretations that have been made of several prophecies. Of course, I do not think the world is going to end, but I do think that, as they sang REM in one of their best-known songs, “the end of the world as we know it” has arrived. 

The signs of this change of cycle, of era or of aeon, are everywhere and have a clear protagonist: the individual, citizen or consumer, depending on the area in question.

The individual has awakened from a dream of happiness and prosperity in the nightmare of the crisis. There have been many evils that this has brought, but one of them encompasses almost everyone else: mistrust.

The citizen has discovered that the trust placed in politicians, bankers, businessmen and other estates, has been betrayed. Surely, there are honorable exceptions but, as is often the case in these cases, the first movement has led to total distrust.

The consumer has found that some of the brands he had trusted had not used the most correct means to sell their products, or to manufacture them or to ensure a minimum quality or, in the most serious cases, to avoid a damage to the health of Your clients.

The confluence of all these factors makes it difficult for an exit forecast of the current situation in mode or time, but must necessarily pass through the individual or client.

Customer Orientation has been gaining importance as the axis of many of the actions aimed at selling or communicating with the consumer. In the current circumstances, it is revealed as fundamental to focus the business in a direction with future possibilities or, why hide it, to decide the viability of the future itself.

Only with great knowledge of your client will you be able to make the right decisions, and for that you should know as much as possible about their way of life, consumption habits, vital priorities, interests, philosophy.

A good way to achieve this purpose is social networks, although you must complement it with all kinds of information: studies, books, blogs, surveys or, why not, the observation of the client in all kinds of situations and the policies of other businesses respect.

It is also necessary to make an X-ray of the environment in which you will have to navigate your business. Many businesses are still focused on a world that does not exist anymore. Elements such as the decrease in purchasing power, the retreat of the middle class, the technological revolution, electronic commerce and other factors of great importance will condition, to a large extent, the success of your business model.

From here, after a reflection as realistic as possible about the status of your business, you will have to design the different policies that will allow you to restore the connection and trust with your client.

Being aware that social changes are slow and that nobody knows how long this situation will last, a basic premise would be to redesign your business to be profitable in the current situation, trusting the growth to the success of your actions and not to the improvement of demand or the environment.

The easy temptation is usually to make a strategy based on price, which offers the deceptive feeling of obtaining quick results in the short term. However, it is a short-term bet, which puts the profitability of your business at risk and devalues ​​the value of your products and services, leaving you at the mercy of the next lowest price, because ‘whoever kills price, dies at price’ .

The best way to deal with price wars is to provide the customer with added value, which transforms a normal purchase into a memorable Shopping Experience, increasing the perceived value in the purchase of your product or service. It is also a good way to promote customer loyalty, essential to generate growth. One of the main components of the Purchase Experience, also known as Customer Experience or Customer Experience, is a correct Customer Orientation policy.

Therefore, there are no magic formulas to face the future that is coming, although there is some certainty: old solutions will not work in a new and changing environment, so, while we are all discovering this new scenario, the key to replacing a well with a mountain, it is in the client.