What Is Client-Centric?
Client-centric, also known as customer-centric, is an approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer by maximizing service and/or product offerings and building relationships.
Client-centric businesses ensure that the customer is at the center of a business's philosophy, operations, or ideas. Client-centric businesses believe that their clients are the primary reason that they exist, and they use every means at their disposal to keep the client satisfied.
- A client-centric approach places heavy emphasis on satisfying the client's needs.
- A client-centric approach theorizes that serving the client's needs creates loyal customers.
- Maintaining an existing client base is less expensive than acquiring new customers, who are typically less loyal.
Client-centric has long been a buzzword in service-oriented industries, especially financial services. Firms that strive to be client-centric often do so by offering one-stop shopping to save customers time and money. Others may provide a suite of high-level services for high-net-worth clients. The overarching business theory is that serving the customer to the utmost of your ability will result in a loyal customer who will both spend more of his or her money with the company and be less likely to go elsewhere based on price.
Implementing a client-centric model involves more than treating the customer right; it also includes an organizational shift whereby the internal culture shifts from product-centered to customer-centered.
The Benefits of a Client-Centric Approach
Companies choose a client-centric approach for several reasons, but the biggest one is that new customers are hard to find. Unless you are providing a brand new good or service, the majority of customers evaluate your business against competitors or equivalents. For example, consumers typically compare the pizza shop at one end of a street to the pizza shop at the other end.
Acquiring new customers is generally expensive, requiring the issuance of discounts or promotions. So a business makes more by keeping the customers they have and selling them more. For example, a pizza shop adds pasta and drinks to its menu, gaining more of its existing customers' restaurant budget. A financial advisor adds an estate planner, retirement specialist, and tax advisor to the team.
A more concrete example is Apple builds a smartphone and then creates a closed ecosystem around it to maintain a seamless and safe user experience. Customer retention is not as simple as the examples provided. It takes thought and careful consideration of the customers' needs, both anticipated and real. So there is just as much effort given after the sale as it is before to attract new customers, maintain an existing customer base, increase loyalty, and drive profits.
Locking in customers with superior service is the go-to strategy for client-centric companies. They strive to create an experience so good that their customers can't imagine receiving the same level of support and attention from any other company.
Of course, there are natural limitations on how many products and services one company can offer while maintaining superior quality. Some client-centric companies expand their suite of services too broadly, eroding the core services that made them outstanding in the first place. As with any approach, taking it to an extreme is as dangerous as not practicing it at all.