How customer centricity is the key to business success in SMEs

Successful companies of the future understand and live one thing: customer centricity. In a rapidly changing business world, it is essential to place the needs and desires of customers at the center of corporate strategy. In our comprehensive guide, we explore the multi-faceted concept of customer centricity, its challenges and its unique value. We show you how to establish a customer-centric corporate culture and how this can sustainably strengthen your business model. Immerse yourself in the world of customer centricity with us and actively shape the future of your company. The benefit? Increased company success and sustainable customer relationships.

Customer centricity: definition and meaning

The terms "customer centricity" and "customer orientation" are more than just buzzwords. In our editorial, we explain their exact meaning, the differences between them and why they are highly relevant in today's business world.

What exactly is customer centricity?

Customer centricity is a business strategy in which all of a company's activities and decisions are geared towards the needs and expectations of its customers. It is more than just a buzzword, it is a paradigm shift that sets itself apart from pure product or service orientation. In this approach, customers are at the center of all considerations, processes and innovations. The aim is not only to satisfy customers, but to inspire them by fulfilling their wishes and exceeding their expectations at the same time.

Customer centricity extends from the development of new products or services to the customer experience and aftercare. It encompasses the entire customer journey in order to build and maintain a sustainable and valuable relationship with customers. It is therefore important to constantly listen to the changing needs of customers and continuously optimize interactions with them. Customer centricity should therefore be seen as an important part of business model development.

Customer centricity versus customer orientation: differences and similarities

t is a common misconception that customer centricity and customer orientation are synonymous. Although both concepts focus on the customer, they differ in their depth and orientation.

Customer centricity refers to a corporate philosophy that focuses on the customer and their needs. It is about fulfilling the needs and wishes of the customer and offering a good customer experience. A customer-centric company strives to tailor its products or services to the customer's preferences and offer them added value through good service.

Customer centricity goes one step further. It shifts the focus from simply meeting customer needs to creating a superior customer experience. In a customer-centric company, the customer's wishes and needs are not only fulfilled, but continuously analyzed, predicted and even exceeded. The aim is not only to meet customer expectations, but to exceed them and thus build a deep and lasting relationship with customers. Emotional connections play a major role in this, which can be created through an exceptional customer experience.

Further terms on customer centricity from our glossary

Table of contents

1
Relevance in today's business world
2
Typical problems
3
Implement customer centricity yourself
4
Impulses for customer centricity
5
Methods for customer centricity
6
What is the ideal situation?
7
Customer-centric business models
8
Making customer centricity measurable
9
Customer centricity & sustainability
10
Practice: Successful examples
11
Digitalization & customer centricity
12
Future outlook & conclusion

The relevance of customer centricity in today's business world

In an increasingly networked and dynamic business world, customer centricity is gaining in importance. Discover with us why it is indispensable for modern companies and what value it creates.

Why customer centricity is essential for companies

We live in an era in which the customer is king. Increasingly intense competition, changing purchasing habits and high market saturation in many sectors have shifted the balance of power between companies and their customers. Thanks to digitalization and the internet, customers now have more choice than ever before and can compare and purchase almost anything with just a few clicks.

In this highly competitive environment, customer centricity is not a luxury, but a necessity. Companies that put their customers at the center of their business decisions are able to stand out from the competition, build lasting customer relationships and establish themselves in the market for the long term. By focusing on customers and their needs, they are able to create products, services and experiences that are tailored to the specific requirements of their target groups.

Customer centricity also plays a central role in innovation. It promotes the development of new and improved products, services and processes that are tailored to the real needs and wishes of customers. In this way, companies can strengthen their competitive position, shorten their time to market and increase their chances of success.

What values and side effects are generated by customer centricity

A customer-centric business model offers numerous benefits that go far beyond the obvious financial gains. One of the main benefits is the improvement in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers are loyal customers who are more likely to buy again and recommend the company to others.

Strong customer centricity can also help to reduce costs. By better understanding the needs of their customers, companies can develop more targeted and efficient marketing and sales strategies. They can focus their resources on the most in-demand products and services and cut unnecessary costs.

In addition, customer centricity can be a powerful differentiator. In a world where products and services are becoming increasingly similar, an exceptional customer experience can be a key competitive advantage. A company that is able to offer its customers a unique and positive experience can successfully differentiate itself from the competition.

Customer centricity in SMEs: a decisive competitive advantage

In the world of SMEs, where every company strives for uniqueness, customer centricity is not only important, it can be the key to success. Characterized by close customer relationships and specialized niches, SMEs particularly benefit from a customer-centric strategy. Here are some reasons why customer centricity is particularly important or different in SMEs:

  • Strengthen personal relationships: Medium-sized companies often build closer and more personal relationships with their customers. Customer centricity makes it possible to deepen these relationships, recognize individual customer needs and offer tailor-made solutions. This not only creates a stronger bond, but also higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: In contrast to large companies, SMEs are characterized by their flexibility and ability to adapt quickly to customer needs. Customer centricity promotes these strengths by creating a deep understanding of customer requirements and facilitating the development of targeted products and services.
  • Competitive differentiation: In a market often dominated by larger companies with greater resources, customer centricity allows SMEs to differentiate themselves through unique customer relationships and customized offerings. This individual approach can be a decisive factor in standing out from the crowd and securing a strong market position.


Focusing on customers and their needs helps SMEs to not only increase their competitiveness, but also to build long-term relationships with their customers. By implementing customer-centric strategies, they can continuously improve their offerings and thus increase their market share and profitability. In today's business world, where the customer is more central than ever, it is crucial for SMEs to consider customer centricity as a core part of their business strategy.

Typical problems faced by SMEs with regard to customer centricity

The journey towards consistent customer centricity is not an easy process for many companies. The challenges can be many and varied, ranging from structural hurdles to cultural resistance. In the following sections, we will look at some of the most common problems that companies face when implementing customer centricity. We will show how they can be overcome and why, despite the challenges, the journey to customer centricity is a worthwhile endeavor.

Customer centricity

Understanding and meeting the needs of your customers is central to the success of your business model. To achieve this goal, you could use qualitative research methods such as interviews or focus groups to gain deeper insights into your customers' wishes and requirements. Likewise, quantitative methods such as surveys or analyzing customer interactions can provide valuable data. In addition, the development of customer segmentations and personas could help you to better understand specific customer groups and create customized offers. All of these measures feed into the development of your customer-centric business model. Contact us and take advantage of our non-binding introductory meeting to find out how we can support you in meeting your customer needs.

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It is a common challenge to overcome the internal focus and develop products and services from the customer's perspective. Methods such as design thinking can offer an effective solution here, as they place the customer perspective at the center of the development process. Co-creation workshops, in which customers are actively involved in product or service development, can also help to overcome the internal focus. Involving your customers in the development process is not only an effective way to develop customer-centric solutions, but also strengthens customer loyalty and promotes innovation. We would be happy to discuss how these approaches can be integrated into your business model in an initial, free consultation.

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Building strong customer relationships and loyalty is a key goal for any business. Personalized communication based on the individual preferences and behavior of your customers can help strengthen your customer relationship. In addition, customer loyalty programs that are aligned with your customers' values and needs can help increase customer loyalty. Another starting point could be the development of community platforms that offer your customers a platform for exchange and interaction. All of these measures can help to make your business model more customer-centric. Take advantage of our offer for a no-obligation initial consultation to find out how we can help you build strong customer relationships.

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Providing excellent customer service and customer experience is a key challenge in the digital age. Implementing technologies such as chatbots or self-service portals can help improve customer service and ensure a seamless customer experience. In addition, training and education for your employees could help to improve the quality of your customer service. To create a unique customer experience, developing customer journey maps that map your customers' path through all touchpoints with your company could be an effective approach. Let's have an initial, no-obligation conversation to discuss how these measures can strengthen your business model.

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Implementing an effective customer feedback system is crucial to continuously learn from your customers and improve your offering. Digital survey tools or feedback forms on your website could be used here. Actively soliciting customer feedback via social media or email newsletters could also be an effective way. Ongoing analysis of this feedback allows you to react quickly to problems and make continuous improvements. This not only contributes to a stronger customer focus, but also to the continuous development of your business model. Contact us for a no-obligation introductory meeting and find out how we can support you in implementing an effective customer feedback system.

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Analyzing and using customer data can be a major challenge, but at the same time holds enormous potential for improving your services. Data analysis tools can help you gain valuable insights from your customer data. These can be used, for example, to create personalized offers or increase customer satisfaction. In addition, predictive analytics approaches could help to forecast future customer behavior and proactively adapt your services. Such data-driven approaches can help to continuously improve your business model and adapt to the changing needs of your customers. Take advantage of our offer for a no-obligation initial consultation to find out how we can support you in analyzing and using your customer data.

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Digitization in the company

Does your customer ūüí© not care

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digital time recording

Internal
Knowledge database

Software

Automated payroll accounting

digital personnel management

Industry 4.0

Cloud computing

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Implement customer centricity yourself

The transformation to a customer-centric company requires strategic planning, perseverance and the commitment of everyone involved. It is not a one-off event, but a continuous process. In the following sections, we will give you practical tips and suggestions on how you can successfully implement customer centricity in your company.

How you can implement customer centricity in your company yourself

A first step towards customer centricity is to develop a deep understanding of your customers and their needs. This includes methods such as customer surveys, interviews, observations or the analysis of customer data. These insights should form the basis for all business decisions and guide the development process of products and services.

Impulses for customer centricity

Questions are a powerful tool for identifying areas for improvement and encouraging critical thinking. Ask yourself and your team questions like: Who are our most important customers? What are their needs and expectations? How can we improve their experience with our products or services? What can we do to become even more customer-centric?

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Methods to implement customer centricity

Discover effective methods from our glossary to realize customer centricity and strengthen your company.

Who you need to involve

Customer centricity is a task for the entire company, not just for marketing or customer service. Every area of the company, from management to development to sales, should be involved in the process and contribute to improving customer centricity. However, this is not always practical, lean and simple. The following applies: customer centricity begins in the strategy and in the business model, i.e. at C-level.

How can you permanently anchor customer centricity in your corporate culture?

Customer centricity should not just be a strategy or a process, but an integral part of the corporate culture. This means that it should be anchored in the company's vision, values and behaviors. Customer-centric companies promote a culture of openness, learning and continuous improvement, where the customer's feedback and perspective are always welcome.

Can you still be helped?

You are....

Medium-sized company with own production
and offer highly specialized products and services

and fight with....

the implementation of digitization away from the production lines
increasing price pressure and margin erosion
the dependence on multi-level distribution (B2B)
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Goal - a maximally customer-centric company

A visionary idea is the first stage on the journey to a customer-centric company. A target image is of central importance in order to align the entire company on the path to customer centricity. In the following sections, we will explain what it means to be a maximally customer-centric company and what elements make it up.

What is the goal of customer centricity?

The primary goal of customer centricity is to place the customer at the center of all company activities. This should not only increase customer satisfaction, but also strengthen customer loyalty. Customer-centric companies strive to create an outstanding customer experience that clearly stands out from the competition through a deep understanding and strong focus on customer needs.

What does a maximally customer-centric company look like, what makes it special?

A maximally customer-centric company is characterized by a number of features. These include the fact that the needs and expectations of customers are incorporated into all decisions, from product development to marketing and customer service. These companies invest in building relationships with their customers and see them not just as buyers, but as partners. They understand that a positive customer experience is more than just good customer service - it's about providing value to the customer throughout their customer journey. They use data and feedback to continuously learn and improve, and they embed customer centricity into their corporate culture and strategy.

Developing customer-centric business models

Customer centricity is more than just a marketing term or a service orientation. It is a business model, a culture, a way to maximize value creation and corporate success. In the following, we take a closer look at how you can develop customer-centric business models.

Why customer centricity is always also a business model issue

In a world where products and services are becoming increasingly interchangeable, it is crucial to stand out from the competition by offering a compelling customer experience. This requires a rethink at a strategic level and the development of business models that put the customer at the center. It is no longer just about selling a product or service, but about supporting and accompanying the customer on their journey in the best possible way. This not only creates satisfied customers, but also loyal customers who become ambassadors for your company.

The foundations of a customer-centric business model

A customer-centric business model is based on in-depth knowledge of customer needs and preferences and is geared towards meeting these in the best possible way. It encompasses all aspects of the company, from product development and design, through sales and service, to internal processes and structures. All activities are geared towards creating an outstanding customer experience and maximizing customer value.

How can you implement a customer-centric business model in your company?

The development and implementation of a customer-centric business model requires a strategic approach and the involvement of all areas of the company. It begins with the definition of a customer-centric vision and strategy, followed by the identification of customer needs and the design of products and services that meet these needs. This also includes adapting internal processes and structures to promote a customer-centric corporate culture.

With MORGEN Consulting, we support you on this path. Our expertise in business model development, combined with our focus on customer centricity, enables us to develop tailor-made solutions for your company. Our approach goes beyond mere consulting. We guide you through the entire process, from analysis and strategy development to design and implementation, evaluation and optimization. In this way, we help you to develop a business model that is not only customer-centric, but also sustainable and successful.

As specialists in business model development at MORGEN we regard customer centricity as an essential component of a successful business strategy.

Jonas Reuter
Jonas Reuter
Managing Director, Partner

Making customer centricity measurable: Methods and tools

Implementing and tracking a customer-centric strategy requires meaningful measurement tools that make your progress transparent and assessable. While you can use gut feeling and informal feedback from your customers, systematic data collection and analysis will help you to better understand and improve your measures.

Which key figures are relevant for customer centricity?

Collecting the right data and using meaningful metrics is crucial to the success of your customer-centric strategy. Important metrics for customer centricity can be Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Retention Rate (CRR), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Net Promoter Score (NPS). These metrics give you a quantitative insight into various aspects of your customer relationships.

How can you measure and evaluate customer centricity in your company?

Customer centricity can be measured using a range of tools and methods. These include customer surveys, interviews, focus groups and social media analysis. With the help of customer feedback tools, you can gain valuable insights into the opinions, wishes and needs of your customers. Analysis tools help you to evaluate and interpret this data.

It is equally important to regularly review and adapt your measurement methods and tools. This is the only way to ensure that they continue to provide relevant information and support your strategy over time. With MORGEN Consulting, we support you in establishing and continuously improving an effective system for measuring and evaluating your customer centricity. Together, we will ensure that your efforts to become more customer-centric deliver measurable and positive results.

Customer centricity and sustainability: a winning duo

In the modern business world, customer centricity and sustainability are more than just trendy terms. They are critical factors for business success and are interrelated. Below we discuss why these two concepts are inextricably linked and how they work together to create value and growth for your business.

Why are customer centricity and sustainability inextricably linked?

Customer centricity means placing the needs and expectations of customers at the heart of the business strategy. Nowadays, more and more customers are attaching importance to sustainability and responsible business practices. They prefer companies that not only offer high-quality products and services, but also act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Customer centricity and sustainability are therefore two sides of the same coin. They complement and reinforce each other and together contribute to the company's success.

How can customer centricity contribute to greater sustainability in your company?

Focusing on customer needs helps companies to identify and implement sustainability goals. Through direct dialog and a deep understanding of customer preferences, companies can develop sustainable solutions that are tailored to the specific needs and wishes of their customers. In addition, customer-centric corporate culture promotes a sustainable mindset and contributes to the development of business models that are both customer-centric and sustainable.

With MORGEN Consulting at your side, you can harness the power of customer centricity to develop sustainable business models. We help you to better understand your customers, identify their needs and preferences in terms of sustainability and develop appropriate strategies and measures. Together, we can make a real difference - for your business and for our shared future.

Customer centricity in practice: successful examples

Successful companies have recognized that customer centricity is more than just a buzzword. It is a key element for long-term success and growth. Here we present some examples that illustrate this and provide inspiration.

Which companies are successfully implementing customer centricity?

Companies from various industries are pioneers in the field of customer centricity. Amazon, for example, has made customer centricity its trademark. The online giant consistently focuses on customer experience by using innovative technologies to provide personalized shopping experiences and make the buying process as convenient as possible.

Another example is Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer known for its outstanding customer service. Zappos goes far beyond selling products and instead focuses on creating positive customer experiences. This includes free shipping, easy return policies and 24/7 customer service that is known for being friendly and helpful.

The success stories of Amazon and Zappos illustrate that customer centricity is a key factor in a company's success. They show that it is important to place the customer at the center of all company activities, from product development to sales and customer service. It is crucial to understand and meet customer needs, use innovative technologies to improve the customer experience and create a corporate culture focused on customer satisfaction.

Customer centricity in SMEs: successful examples

Customer centricity is not only important for global giants such as Amazon, but also for medium-sized companies that want to increase their competitiveness and deepen their customer relationships. Here are some inspiring examples from the SME sector.

There are also numerous examples of successful customer centricity in the SME sector. One outstanding example is Fielmann, the leading optician in Germany and Europe. Fielmann has revolutionized the eyewear market with its clear promise to offer customers glasses not only as a visual aid, but also as a fashion accessory. With a wide selection of high-quality yet affordable products, Fielmann has hit the nerve of its customers. The company also attaches great importance to comprehensive advice and first-class service, which is reflected in high customer satisfaction ratings.

Another example is the outdoor outfitter VAUDE, which focuses on sustainable and customer-centered corporate management. VAUDE takes customer feedback seriously and integrates it into product development. This results in products that meet customer needs and at the same time make a contribution to environmental protection.

What can you learn from these successful examples?

The success stories of Fielmann and VAUDE show that customer centricity in SMEs is not only possible, but a key factor for sustainable success. They illustrate the importance of customer dialog and customer understanding. They also demonstrate how customer centricity can be combined with other values such as sustainability in order to achieve a strong market position.

The role of digitalization in customer centricity

In an increasingly connected world where digital technologies are constantly changing the way we work and live, digitalization plays a central role in customer centricity. It not only influences the way companies reach and serve their customers, but also the expectations and requirements of the customers themselves. Here we look at how digitalization is influencing customer centricity and why it represents both an opportunity and a challenge.

How does digitalization influence customer centricity?

Digitalization has fundamentally changed customer behaviour. Today's customers are more informed, more connected and more demanding than ever before. They expect personalized offers, seamless omnichannel experiences and fast, responsive services. To meet these expectations, companies need to develop customer-centric strategies based on digital technologies. This includes data-driven insights, AI-supported personalization, automated processes and digital touchpoints.

Digitalization: opportunity or challenge for customer centricity?

Digitalization is both an opportunity and a challenge for customer centricity. On the one hand, it enables companies to reach, understand and serve customers in an unprecedented way. It offers the opportunity to personalize the customer experience, optimize processes and develop new business models.

On the other hand, digitalization presents companies with new challenges. It requires a far-reaching transformation of business processes, corporate culture and technological infrastructure. It also increases the complexity of the customer experience and places greater demands on data management and security practices.

MORGEN Consulting can help you master the challenges of digitalization and take advantage of its opportunities. With our expertise in digital transformation and customer-centric business model development, we can help you to use digital technologies effectively to create an outstanding customer experience and achieve sustainable growth.

Outlook for the future: Customer centricity as a pioneer for sustainable customer relationships

Our dynamic economic and social system requires companies to constantly adapt and realign themselves. Customer centricity, which is closely linked to sustainable corporate management, has emerged as a crucial element in business model development. An increasingly complex and fast-moving business world places high demands on the flexibility and adaptability of companies, while customers are increasingly becoming the focus of attention and expect a more individualized and higher-quality service.

Long-term benefits and effects of customer centricity

The benefits of a customer-centric strategy are manifold and extend across various aspects of your company. Customer centricity leads to a deeper understanding of your customers, strengthens your customer relationships and contributes to customer loyalty. Companies that successfully implement customer centricity have greater competitiveness, improved business results and higher profitability. They are also able to quickly recognize and respond to changes in the market and customer requirements. Customer centricity thus provides a sustainable basis for long-term business success.

Customer centricity as a decisive factor for corporate success in the future

In today's business world, where the customer is king, customer centricity is increasingly becoming a necessity. Companies that focus on the wishes and needs of their customers can gain a competitive advantage and secure or even expand their position in the market. In addition, a customer-centric strategy leads to stronger customer loyalty and thus to a long-term and stable customer base. Focusing on customer centricity is therefore a decisive step towards securing the company's success in the future.

With MORGEN Consulting, we support you in aligning your strategies and business models to be customer-centric. Our aim is to help you put your customers at the center of everything you do and thus create a lasting competitive advantage. With a mixture of experience, know-how and fresh ideas, we help you to master change and make your company fit for the future.

The changes that lie ahead may seem intimidating, but they also offer opportunities. It's time to take the plunge and see change as something positive. Take advantage of a customer-centric strategy and make your company fit for the future. Because at the end of the day, customer centricity is not only a path to success, but also an investment in a sustainable and prosperous future.

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What place does your company have in the world of TOMORROW?
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