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Top 13 Examples of Customer Centricity in Famous Brands

Top 13 Examples of Customer Centricity in Famous Brands

logo Shubham Rajpara
April 8, 2021 | 12 Min Read

According to Hubspot, companies having customer-centricity as a fundamental element in their approach are 60% more profitable than the companies that aren't.

In this blog, I will explain 13 examples of brands who helped themselves by being awfully customer-oriented! 

Before that, let's understand what custom centricity is. 

What is Customer Centricity? 

Customer-centric is also known as client-centricity. It is a business strategy where businesses put your customer first. All business operations center around the needs of the customers and their positive experience. 

Customer Impact by a Customer-Centric approach

Here is how being customer-centric or having customer obsession can impact your business: 

1. Up-to-date with customer needs 

Your business will never be outdated. This is because when you focus on your customers' needs, you know what to modify in your business. 100% of all companies that don't adapt to the needs of the customers go obsolete, according to a report by common sense.

2. Become a brand that people love and recognize 

You will be a brand and not just a business. People make you into a brand and your net revenue. More precisely, it is how people think of your business that determines how strong a brand you will become.

3. Enhanced customer retention and loyalty

We all know that acquiring new customers is multiple times costlier than retaining an old one. When you are customer-centric, it is implausible for you to lose a customer (considering your products deliver what they promised.)

4. Word-of-mouth marketing and acquiring new customers

Your existing loyal customers are your best marketing source. Their word-of-mouth marketing will bring in their friends and family to your business, and guess what? They'll make purchases with only the minimum effort required from your side, as social proof is at play. This will lead to an exponential growth in new customers.

5. Enhanced ROI

Massive boost in sales and revenue. It takes only a few unhappy customers to bring a business down. When you are Customer-centric, you know your people's exact needs, which will always pull them to your business and make a purchase. 

Now that we know how customer centricity helps a business holistically let's see some of the best examples of customer-centricity in famous brands.

Top 13 Customer-Centricity Examples by Famous Brands

1. McDonald's 

McDonald's has always been good at delivering a great customer experience and building a brand around being customer-centric. 

It is in the vernacular of everyone across almost all cities of the world because of its ability to create a customer-centric experience.

"Happy Meal" is an example of it offering an experience with food. 

Its symbolic clown Ronald McDonald sitting on an empty bench with a grin on his face, has driven customers to sit next to and take pictures with -- is another example of how the food chain giant fiddles with people's emotions to deliver a more significant customer experience. 

Other fast-food chains were gaining leverage over them, and McDonald's had to rethink its customer experience strategy and bring in customer centricity.

To be more customer-centric, it dove deeper into data and gained insights into customers' needs and pain points. 

McDonald's used data from 2015 dating back to 2008, social media listening, and customer survey forms, to figure out customers' pain-point. 

They figured that people majorly wanted an all-day breakfast menu, wanting their favorite breakfast items to be sold in lunch and dinner as well.

So they made the following changes in their operations:

  • Introducing healthy items with calories listed in the menu itself like Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, Egg White Delight, Fruit' n Yogurt Parfait, etc. 
  • Offering breakfast items like hash browns, egg McMuffins, and others throughout the day. 

Here's one of those initial tweets by McDonald's when it rolled out the breakfast menu. 

After introducing the all-day breakfast menu, McDonald's reported fourth-quarter revenues of 2016 exceeded all financial analysts' predictions. 

While its stocks saw an all-time high, the same-store sales saw a 5.7% jump in sales in the United States and a 5% jump worldwide, outperforming its rivals Burger King, Chipotle, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, and Panera.

2. Adobe

In 2010, Adobe happened to research to see how their sales efforts were panning out. They studied two things in the research how other industries were driving sales and the website metrics of adobe.com. 

These were the problems without customer centricity they were facing:

  • D2C (Direct-to-consumer) sales were driving major revenue for most of the competition, and Adobe realized the need to focus on this distribution channel.
  • Millions of weekly global visitors on adobe.com who intended to buy software, more than 2/3rds of them failed to take action.

Both these insights made Adobe realize that it is time to be more customer-centric.

With the help of Deloitte Digital, it then made the following customer-centric changes: 

  • Enhanced the UX of the website 
  • Used agile development to make websites that can easily be modified by developers and also by non-technical staff
  • Made the website compatible across devices
  • Tailored customer experience based on their choices and past purchase behavior
  • Changed traditional sales model to a subscription-based, online model

How did this turn out?  

After deploying the new website to the world in 2012, the American MNC software company saw the following metrics

  • 16% growth in Checkout-to-order conversions 
  • 47% increase in lead generation rates 
  • Online cart additions increased across products.
  • Marketing efficiency improved by a 100% percent 
  • 40% decrease in global webpage count better UX, faster sales, and ease in website maintenance

3. Netflix 

Founded in 1997, inspired by Amazon selling books online, Netflix was launched to rent DVDs online.

With only 30 employees and having an inventory of 925 (that's almost all available DVD titles at that time) available for pay per rent, it was against its offline competitor, Blockbuster.

In 2011, Netflix's business took a huge toll when it announced that its customers should prepare for a price increase and a less customer-friendly plan that separated DVD and streaming services.

This, along with the ongoing great financial depression, led Netflix to experience a massive loss. 

Even after eventually shelving its announcement, the damage had been done. 

This is what Netflix faced: 

  • Lost 800,000 subscribers
  • The stock price dropped 77% in 4 months to from $298.73 in 2011 to $53.80 in 2012 
  • Tarnished brand image 
  • The company on the verge of being acquired by its offline competition Blockbuster at $50 Million 

This was the time they needed to reinvent as a customer-centric company.

Here are what customer-centric changes they made:  

  • Not only did they took-back the announcement in price hike as mentioned above, but they also apologized about it in a humble and personalized way: 

  • They sent out survey emails to check with customers about their postal mail DVD and streaming experiences.

  • Realized that one-size-fits-all didn't work and started working on its recommending A.I. algorithm and multiple subscription plan options.

And, the results…
Two years after reinventing themselves as a customer-centric business, they saw the following results in 2013: 

  • Their stock price reached a high of $215.55 in March 2013 from $53.80 in Sept 2012, becoming the best performing stock of 2013 in the Standard and Poor's 500 index.
  • The company acquired 2 Million new streaming customers in 2013 itself.
  • Revenue was up 8% to $945 million for the same period.
  • Blockbuster could not meet the personalization and customer expectations Netflix had brought about, and it shut its business forever in 2013.

4. Slack 

Slack has always been on top of the game when it comes to customer centricity.

Messaging app Slack, founded in 2013, incorporated customer feedback into its strategy from its inception. 

The first version of their SaaS-based products m was designed to be an alternative to working emails. When they started, in the words of the founder Butterfield, begged businesses to try it out. 

There were 6-10 companies initially, and the first two were Cozy, a rental management software provider for landlords and tenants, and the music service Rdio. Rdio had a bigger team, which made the founders realized that the product works differently when the team size increases. 

This is where Slack made its first customer-centric change, and they have since then always making changes to their product according to the customer's needs. 

Slack puts its customer feedback to the utmost priority. Therefore, the key metric they focus on gauging success is not sales but NPS or CES scores.

They also see how their customer service executives can deal with problems more humanly -- than counting the tickets resolved. They also consistently request customers to give reviews or feature in case study videos. 

All this customer-centric behavior has contributed to this workplace messaging app's now eight-million strong user base, three million of which are paid users.

5. Hilton 

At the end of 2018, President and CEO Christopher Nassetta announced that Hilton was taking a customer-centric approach for its pricing model. 

This was an alternative to a revised cancellation policy. The new pricing will do away with the best available rate and replace it with a little increased price that is 100% refundable. Customers can also get a discounted refund if they cancel bookings 2-3 days in advance.

The CEO said that this method was tried and tested at 100s of hotels. This new customer-centric policy will reduce cancellations, give them higher ADR, and also a RevPAR boost.

More than that, he continues that they have done this to give customers more power while also managing their inventory better.

Hilton's hotel group has also reduced third-party group and meeting planners' commission rate to 7% from earlier 10% at hotels in the U.S. and Canada. This is to benefit the guests directly.  

6. Adidas 

The shoemaker giant's policy of customer centricity is simple yet smart, effectively making it super customer-oriented.

Its official website www.adidas.co is the best example.

Unlike other brands, however, Adidas keeps its customization simple. They only offer two customization options: 
You can write whatever you want on the shoe! 
You get your favorite shoe style in 20 different colors! 

It would not be wrong to say that Adidas has literally allowed people to make their own shoes! And, this is a prime example of customer centricity and hyper-personalization. 

Do you know the benefits of this hyper customer centricity beyond the massive increase in sales? 

  • Stress-free and easy decision making for customers
  • Enhanced brand perception
  • More word of mouth marketing
  • More mentions on social media (customized shoes are too cool not to show off)

Secondly, their product recommendation engines are very powerful. 

Recommendations are made based on important information like demographic data, psychographic data, and past purchase behavior with the brand.

These smart recommendation engines have proved to be very helpful in upselling and cross-selling products. 

Additionally, on the website, "others also bought" adds to the Social Proof, therefore, driving more sales.

7. Zappos 

Zappos uses a different method to stay focused on customer-centricity. 

This Amazon-owned shoe and clothing retailer believes that having an elite customer service team is the key to building a business with a foundation in customer centricity.

Since they believe that having an efficient customer sales and support team is most important in having a customer-centric business, they give all employees a lot of flexibility. 

Nobody has a designated formal title or duties, and everybody works within a team that they are passionate about keeping their core focus on customer satisfaction. 

Adding to this customer centricity, there is the Zappos Customer Research group. This group uses different research methodologies to acquire insights into the true needs of the customers.

Head of Customer Research, Alex Genov, explains how the company uses a mix of customer surveys, usability testing, and in-depth interviews to gain a holistic view of the customer.

One example of Zappos' customer obsession is, its telephone number is listed at the topmost bar of its homepage. Alongside a prominent 'Customer Service' menu that is solely dedicated to customer information. 

8. Warby Parker 

Another example of customer centricity is the shopping chatbot found on Warby Parker, the online eyeglass seller's website.

This shopping chatbot asks questions based on what they are looking for to find the right product quickly. This approach also helps them in collecting valuable customer insights.

Let's understand why product-focused shopping Chatbots are great customer centricity examples:

  • They streamline products for customers based on their choices and help them find the product fast
  • They learn which product attributes appeal to customers fast.
  • Customer segmentation can be carried out based on their interests
  • These chatbots can help gain businesses immensely valuable psychographic data 

This customer-oriented business then compiles a box of "try-at-home" frames for delivery. These frames are chosen based on the answers given by customers.

The physical act of wearing on the glasses will create an in-store experience. It will also create an endowment effect. In the endowment effect, people are less likely to give up something they have tried on, which increases sales, obviously. 

9. Workday 

In 2019, software company Workday that offers solutions for finance, H.R., planning, and spend management, was ranked 10th on the list of great places to work in the world.

This was because of its robust training, collaborative culture, and upskilling programs. 

But how are they customer-oriented?

Employees at workday are motivated to innovate and take risks for the betterment of the customers. 

And the proof of this is that the company has a massive 98% customer satisfaction score for paying heed to customer feedback and modifying its products to meet customers' needs. 

10. Casper 

According to a report by Fortune, Casper is on the way to becoming a one-stop eCommerce shop for bedding-related items and accessories when it only started by selling one type of mattress. 

The reason for this massive growth?

Customer service -- says Casper's Cofounder Philip Krim. He says Amazon's model of customer-centricity inspires them.

One of the examples is... 

Casper offers a 100-day trial period of its mattress to its customers. The reason being, they think laying on mattresses for 10-15 seconds doesn't mean anything.

In the future, they will be adding high-tech mattresses that will use technology to enhance people's sleep experience. 

11. Wells Fargo 

Wells Fargo is another great example of customer centricity. 

Wells Fargo is unusually socially conscious as a bank. It earns high marks for its environmental record and setting records for financing green projects.

According to Forbes, after the financial crisis, it has had 16 consecutive quarters of profitability.

In 1999, Steve Ellis, who runs the Wholesale Service Group, attended a general banking business meeting. 

Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems was also attending this meeting. Amidst the normal banking business conversations that would occur, he said that we need to add more value to customer experience.

Customers should not only get banking services in fixed banking hours. Banking services should be available to a customer 24/7. We can do this by leveraging the power of the internet and bringing in net banking services. 

This transfixed Ellis.

He then thought that if he could shorten the customers' time frame from 1 hour to a minute, that would be real value addition.

This is how customer centricity began at Wells Fargo.

He introduced ethnography techniques and sent his team to Stanford to learn the same. The team then realized how valuable observing customers in real-time was than brainstorming in corporate offices.

Now, Wells Fargo has over 40% and a $260 billion market cap. It is the world's most valuable bank in the world.

12. USAA 

Started in 1922 by a group of U.S. military officers. The United Service Automobile Association is an insurance company based out of Texas. 

USAA exclusively offers a range of financial services for its U.S. army, veterans, and their families.

This company was born because many military officers were denied car insurance as they came in high-risk groups. They, therefore, decided to self-insure each other when others, and this is how the company was born.

How are they customer-centric?

  • Car accident insurance claims are made remotely through online modes: take pictures, attach voice notes, and you're all set.
  • Account balance can be checked by just sending a text message. 
  • They train their employees massively on how to stay customer-centric.
  • They down-sell! Yes, they only sell to their customers what they truly need and nothing more. 
  • They are socially responsible.

Their Twitter is proof:

USAA helping impacted by Hurricane Nate

You can see their customer-centric efforts in the video too: 



USAA has now gone on to become a $122 bn worth company.

13. Glossier 

Glossier is an online beauty shop. They don't have any middlemen like retailers and wholesalers and sell D2C. 

They only have two offline stores. And yet they are massively customer-oriented

Here's how they remain customer-centric: 

  • Be aware of the latest customer experience trends of the customers by carrying out market research, tracking trends and user-generated hype
  • Having an individualistic knowledge (psychographic data) of every customer
  • Have a smart social media presence and marketing strategies

Here's an example of their customer-centric social media strategy: 

With only customer centricity and customer obsession, Glossier was valued at $1.2 Billion in 2019.

Conclusion 

SuperOffice recently asked 1,920 business professionals to share their number one priority for the next 5 years.

What did they find out? 

Customer experience came first, leaving behind pricing and the product!

Top priority in business for upcoming 5 years

This concludes customer-centricity in a business is not a choice businesses have not to make. 

We hope this article was a good read for you. Knowing how businesses across all sizes and types administer customer centricity will help you gain actionable insights as to how to bring customer centricity to your business as well.

For more such content, stay tuned to this space.

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