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.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights. Newsweek Expert Forum

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 highest priority. While this is a nice thing to say, there's a difference between simply delivering what a customer asks for and truly being a consumer-centric organization.

Today's consumers expect that the businesses they buy from will go the extra mile to ensure an experience that exceeds their expectations. To help your company become more consumer-centric, 15 members of Newsweek Expert Forum members offered their best tips below.

1. Re-Prioritize Organizational Focus

Re-prioritize the organization's focus from profit to people. It's the only way to make the organization consumer-centric. Businesses have somehow shifted so far to the profit-first space that relationships are no longer being fostered. The old adage that people buy from those they like will never steer a business in the wrong direction. - Jean Tien, Energetics of Being LLC

2. Provide Consumer Needs Proactively

Listening to what consumers want is essential, but it's even more important to understand what they want but haven't said. As a company, you have to meet the needs the consumer hasn't yet articulated. The entire organization has to be on the same page to do this. You can't have marketing trying to reach a different need than sales or customer service, and you can't have an out-of-touch CEO. - Rebecca Woodbury Keller, Gravitas Publications Inc./Nachokat LLC

3. Engrain Mental Wellness Into the Company Culture

Prioritize mental wellness and effectively integrate it into a company's culture. When employees and leaders are experiencing burnout and fueling negatively, the customer's views and needs become a distant priority. Providing tools and resets to encourage self-awareness and care are essential components for generating productivity and positive mindsets. - Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant

4. Consider the Customer's Voice in Each Stage

Building a consumer-centric organization starts by considering the voice of the customer in everything you do. If you're designing a new product, ask customers what they want. If you're upgrading a service, consider how this will benefit your customers. Finally, if you're losing customers, be humble and find out why then address the issues. - Gregory Thomas, 375 Park Associates

5. Constantly Strive to Better Meet Consumer Needs

Consistently ask yourself what you are doing to provide solutions that meet your customers' needs. If what you offer today isn't what ultimately serves them, don't hesitate to retool what you offer to better meet their needs. All companies ultimately exist to serve their customers—and must make money to continue doing that—but they aren't there to just take hard-earned money from consumers. - April (Margulies) White, Trust Relations

6. Consider the Consumer's Point of View

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

7. Understand the End Customer

Too often, customer-centric gets people to focus on customer-facing employees, but that's a fatal mistake. My experience in senior roles, e.g., developing entrepreneurial leadership at UBS, is that everyone needs to understand the end customer. They need to be fully briefed about customer needs and meet with customers so they can understand how they can really support customer-facing teams effectively. - Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

8. Add Consumer Focus to the Company Culture

Build an organizational culture of consumer focus. Too often, organizations, especially as they grow, lose sight of the importance of one of their most critical assets: their customer! This can be a costly error that may drive customers to competing service providers. Building this consumer-centric focus into your culture ensures it remains a core principle of the organization as time goes on. - Israel Tannenbaum, Withum

9. Find What's Important to Consumers

Make sure to build your communications first around what is most important to them, not to you. When you provide service, ensure you are laser-focused on the concerns and needs of your consumers and focused on providing them value there. While you may have your own agenda, theirs will always come first. - Chris Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10. Get Personal

We use an elite brand of HR software that allows us to get personal with our employees. For example, for bonuses and overtime, it sends out emails with the employee's name and some type of motivation like "Keep up the good work Ben" or "Hooray!" A little recognition goes a long way. - Tammy Sons, Tn Nursery

11. Take Customer Feedback Into Account

Feedback is at the intersection of opportunity and growth. Ensuring that there are strategies in place to actively 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 engagements. It shows customers that you care about their perspectives and gives them a sense of ownership. - David Castain, David Castain & Associates

12. Define Your Most Critical Services

Define what the most critical services are to your end users or customers and pivot your organization to be aligned with these services. If you can align your organization along with these services, you will be able to effectively govern, manage and drive strategic decisions with the focus of customers at the forefront. - Nita Kohli, Kohli Advisors

13. Make Smart Hiring Choices

You have to hire people who are customer-obsessed. If you hire people who are already built to put the consumer first, the company will naturally become more consumer-centric because your employees will do what's best for the customers by default. They'll feel successful only when your customers are successful, which is a win-win for the organization and the consumer. - David Wright, Pattern

14. Hire Previous Clients

Hire people who were clients before. Their experience can help the company tailor the processes, procedures and the overall approach to achieve the ultimate client satisfaction. - Krisztina Veres, Veres Career Consulting

15. Ensure Management Understands Consumer Complaints

Many in upper management forget about consumers and never hear about how their product or service is perceived or used. They just think all their employees are handling any problems. However, there is a great disconnect between a complaint coming through customer service and making it resolvable in middle and upper-level management. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
What's this?
Content labeled as the Expert Forum is produced and managed by Newsweek Expert Forum, a fee based, invitation only membership community. The opinions expressed in this content do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Newsweek or the Newsweek Expert Forum.