For small businesses here in the US, we many times focus our energies on providing a great product, service or customer support but when dealing with a sustainable approach means that we must focus on all of the above. If you make a product that in must be the best product you can make, the same is true of services. However we must also be customer centric.
With nothing to sell, there is no purpose in being in business but equally what is a business without a customer?
Being Product or Service centric
- Many times, you as the business owner focus all your efforts into the development and growth of a product or service. You will do meticulous research into the market, competitors and the customers you are targeting and using that information to govern the direction that hopefully drive your success.
- When we are product-focused it implies that we are continuously working at building and improving the business offering to ensure the brand always stays ahead of the game. It is sustainable!
- One of the dangers lies in being so caught up with the ‘bigger picture’ that you lose track of the smaller details, such as the customers’ in store experience of the product.
- Another danger is that you don’t take time to talk with your customer in terms of understanding their expectations and needs. You don’t take time to listen to your customer or provide them with a genuine appreciation for their business.
Being Customer centric
- When you are customer centric the consumer at all times. Your actions and developments are all about their wants, needs and preferences.
- Generally, you understand that it involves a great deal of research into the target market, but it also calls for taking a proactive role in managing relationships with customers – this is also something that all team members in the business need to take part in as everyone contributes to the customer experience. It must become part of your corporate culture and DNA.
- There are some dangers in being too customer centric. It can lead you to getting so caught up in pleasing your customer that important strategic decisions are overlooked. At the end of the day, what works for the customer might not be best for your business.
- Another danger in this arena is that you may become convinced to add products or services that are outside of your sphere of expertise. This means they are not natural and will require a major investment it tooling, education or training to make it work well. Staying focused is important.
Now, while product, service and customer centricity each come with their own positives and negatives, success is only be ensured when a balance is struck. The product, service and the customer play a critical role in the success and survival of your business, which is why your focus needs to be placed keeping a balance in each area.
In the end, you may try to focus on one function without the other but it will have a cost. Without the product or service, your business has nothing that will entice the customer to purchase. Without the customer, there will never be a need for the product or service, making its development redundant.