I was in a conversation with a successful start-up co-founder from Europe and during the discussion we touched upon how to build a successful start-up; the answer was something amazing. Having customer-focused approach; in all what we do as part of the start-up. In fact, building the culture where customer is the focus of all the functions.
Customers are the most important part of start-up business. Their feedback, interest and needs that drive sales, promote products and further brand reach, and this is of paramount importance during the initial days. Not focusing on this aspect of the business, poor customer experiences will lead to fast erosion of the business and brand value. Customer satisfaction is one of the important parameters investors look for in the later part of the funding stages.
A customer-focused start-up adopts a strategy where the customer and their needs come first as a way to reach brand goals and grow the business. Rather than making moves based on product, co-founders, sales or growth; all important decisions are made keeping customer value add in the center and register what customer problem we are solving.
Building Customer Focused Company Culture:
Start-ups need to create a customer-focused culture by implementing it from the inception stage. And most important, it is not about implementing this focus in one or two areas. Customer-focused practices should permeate through every department, employee and starts with orientation and onboarding. Management team has a very important role to play. They need to provide that executive support, measure the success and reward.
It’s not just creating a company value definition, but inculcate the behavior in all of the team members.
Define & Track Customer-Focused Metrics:
It’s crucial to define and track specific & measurable metrics around customer focused behavior of the entire business, so that start-ups can refine their strategy as needed and continue implementing those values into the business.
Some sample metrics might be;
- Net Promoter Score: This measures customer loyalty over time by gauging how willing they are to recommend your brand to others
- Customer equity: This is the total value of all of the new customer relationships created in a specific period.
- Customer satisfaction score: measured through numbers, stars, smiley faces.
- First response time: the speed of response is a great market for customer satisfaction
- Customer retention rate and loyalty: your ability to keep a customer over time and repeat business.
- Employee engagement: staff motivation can affect quality customer service
- Brand awareness
Many start-ups think about their customers as part of the problem rather than the solution. Start viewing your customers as the solution to your problems rather than the problem. Make them part of the solution in your strategy to get the results you want.
With so much competition out there and with limited brand value as a start-up, it’s easier for your brand to stand out from the rest by implementing a customer-focused strategy from the inception. This ensures that the customer comes first so you build a loyal customer base that’s happy to continue a relationship with your business, and this way you can build a long lasting and successful start-up.