20 February 2023 1485 words, 6 min. read

Customer-centric approach: definition and 3 strategic axes

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
Customer-centric approaches put the customer at the center of all business decisions. This means designing activities and processes to achieve maximum customer satisfaction in marketing. These strategies proved particularly successful for brands: our B2C statistics support this. In this article, […]

Customer-centric approaches put the customer at the center of all business decisions. This means designing activities and processes to achieve maximum customer satisfaction in marketing. These strategies proved particularly successful for brands: our B2C statistics support this. In this article, we come back to the concept of customer-centric brands. Finally, we present 3 effective strategic axes, all summarized in our summary table.

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5 statistics on customer-centric approaches

  • Fundamentally, customer-centric structures are 60% more profitable than brands that are not.
  • In the United States, 70% of customers opt for brands that understand them deeply. In addition, 49% favor buying from retailers that have made an effort to send personalized content.
  • 93% of companies indicate that customer experience is a relatively important differentiator. Moreover, 44.5% of these structures see it as a primary differentiator.

What is a customer-centric approach?

For companies, customer-centric approaches consist in making strategic decisions based on the end customer. Thus, all commercial campaigns and internal processes of brands are shaped to meet the customer’s needs. To the extent that customer centricity fosters customer loyalty, it embodies a significant competitive advantage. As a result, the public differentiates brands based on their propensity to prioritize customer needs. (Crecelius et al, 2019; Lee et al, 2015; Shah et al, 2006)

definition customer-centric

Let us now place ourselves exclusively under the marketing prism. Cheng & Dogan, 2008 state that customer-centric strategies are based on the desires and resources of the target audience. By doing so, marketers enhance their offers and adapt to their different market segments. This method works positively on many fronts:

  • Customers: they feel more pleasure in consuming and are more likely to repeat the purchase
  • Marketing teams: the customer-centric angle consolidates the links between marketing technicians and the public. Ideal for strengthening relationship marketing campaigns!
  • Brands: their profitability and their knowledge of the customer’s expectations are both on the rise

The 3 “customer-centric” strategic axes

Now, let’s tackle the strategic advice to become customer-centric. To do this, we will use the results of scientific research from 2020. This study ranks 17 customer-centricity processes according to their impact. Academic experts and various sector experts were interviewed to determine which processes they considered to have the greatest impact. We present below the points selected for their effectiveness on customer-centricity approaches!

Let customers shape the interaction

First and foremost, a good customer-centric approach is about optimal customer interaction. To achieve this, marketers recommend shaping the interaction according to customer needs. In this case, find below 3 actions to put in place to give total freedom to your marketing target:

  • Multiply the sales/communication channels: each contact point with the customer must be part of a consistent Omnichannel Marketing experience. Moreover, the customer experience will be better if it is harmonious. In other words, the channel change must be done without loss of information or a decrease in service quality.
  • Time flexibility: customers would like to get in touch with you only at certain times; this is about finding out exactly when. Then you can determine which business strategies to prioritize.
  • Self-service: a good customer-centric mentality also means delegating some tasks to the customer! The best brands propose self-service and more traditional processes. This follows our logic of leaving the choice of interaction to the customer.

Self-service checkouts: reasons for satisfaction and significant time savings for customers.

Streamline customer processes

Secondly, a customer-centric company must strive to maintain a high level of fluidity in its customer processes. This includes customer support, connections between individual and business processes, and speed of problem resolution. Here are some details about these measures:

  • Customer support: if necessary, supporting and guiding the customer throughout the business process. For example, this customer support can revolve around educational themes. In this case, the transmission of product knowledge between brands and customers is a customer-centric approach.
  • Understanding individual processes: this is a key step in the relational phase of customer-centric methods. In other words, brands take on the routines of each individual to better meet our latent needs. The subtlety here lies in the flexibility of the connection with the customer. Indeed, the customers’ freedom must not be restricted in any way!
  • A contact to solve problems: we must gather all the information necessary to solve customer problems. This reduces the number of round trips with the brand and increases customer satisfaction. For example, chatbots are excellent touch points to resolve these concerns quickly. The OpenTable x Uber deal in 2021 is a good case study.

By partnering with OpenTable, Uber has simplified the flow of information and bridged the gap between dining and transportation.

Uber customer-centric

Uber’s strategy is not only customer-centric but also improves the customer experience. Each of its rides in collaboration with OpenTable came with 50% discounts at the restaurant. This operation took place in the United Kingdom.

Focus on social and emotional interactions

Finally, customer-centric brands need more than free interactions and smooth customer processes. They must also consider the nature of these interactions. Indeed, we list below three best practices for inherently social and emotional interactions.

  • Customer preferences build the interaction: we’re talking about the content communicated to the consumer. As with temporal flexibility, brands here are required to produce content that meets the expectations of their audience. There are many ways to gather preferences: questionnaires, behavioral analysis, interviews, etc.
  • Surprise the audience: go beyond even the expectations of the customers. For example, this can go for sensory marketing to stimulate customers’ emotions. As a general rule, turning your offer upside down is unnecessary to excite customers. It can positively surprise your target audience by altering your commercial process. This is what DIONE, a Lithuanian ice cream maker, does: the products remain the same, but the communication is always more surprising!
  • Lend an ear to feedback: solicit customer opinions as much as possible. This shows attention in the post-purchase period and a willingness to improve its service in the future. Thus, it is an ideal instrument for customer loyalty. This feedback should be easy for the customer. So, why not keep them informed of the progress made thanks to their opinions? In short, ensure you do everything you can to create a deep connection with your customers.

Netflix embraces each of our advice. This manifests itself in personalized and constantly updated recommendations.

customer centric tableau récapitulatif

Summary table: the components of a good customer-centric strategy

Strategic focus Actions to be taken
Let customers shape the interaction
  • The preference of communication channels lies with the customer, not the brand (Mirsch et al., 2016)
  • Customers also choose when they interact with the brand (Böhmova et al., 2016)
  • Opt for self-service whenever it benefits the customer experience (Scherer et al., 2015)
Streamline customer processes
  • Guide, and assist customers throughout the customer experience (Dixon et al., 2010)
  • Connect to customers’ processes, i.e., their daily routine (Oberländer et al., 2018)
  • Highly efficient customer service: limit to 1 contact maximum to solve customer problems
Focus on social and emotional interactions
  • Build on customer preferences to construct brand interactions (Reijers & Liman Mansar, 2005)
  • Don’t settle for the bare minimum: exceed audience expectations to excite customers (Clauss et al., 2019)
  • Simplify and place a premium on customer reviews (Vanwersch et al., 2014)

customer-centric sources


  • Ackerman, L. (2020). 70 Percent of Consumers say They Will Exclusively Shop with Brands that Personally Understand Them this Holiday Season. Redpoint.
  • Böhmova et al. (2016). Scheduling transfers of resources over time: towards car-sharing with flexible drop-offs. LASTI, 220-234.
  • Cheng & Dogan. (2008). Customer-Centric Marketing with Internet Coupons. Decision Support Systems, 44(3), 606–620.
  • Clauss et al. (2019). A rolling stone gathers no moss: the effect of customers’ perceived business model innovativeness on customer value co-creation behavior and customer satisfaction in the service sector. R&D Management, 49(2), 180-203.
  • Crecelius et al. 2019. Effects of Channel Members’ Customer Centric Structures on Supplier Performance. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(1), 56–75.
  • Dixon et al. (2010). Stop trying to delight your customers. HBR, 88(7/8), 116-122.
  • Frank et al. (2020), Design heuristics for customer-centric business processes. Business Process Management Journal, 26(6), 1283-1305.
  • Lee et al. (2015). Effect of Customer-Centric Structure on Long-Term Financial Performance. Marketing Science, 34(2), 250–268.
  • Mirsch et al. (2016). Channel Integration Towards Omnichannel Management: A Literature Review. PACIS 2016 Proceedings, 288.
  • Oberländer et al. (2018). Conceptualizing business-tothing interactions – a sociomaterial perspective on the Internet of Things”. EJIS, 26(1), 1-17.
  • Reijers & Liman Mansar. (2005). Best practices in business process redesign: an overview and qualitative evaluation of successful redesign heuristics. Omega, 33(4), 283-306.
  • Scherer et al. (2015). The value of self-service: long-term effects of technology-based self-service usage on customer retention. MIS Quarterly, 39(1), 177-200.
  • Schmidt et al. (2017). Wealth Management – Digitalization changes client advisory more than ever before. Deloitte.
  • Shah et al. (2006). The Path to Customer Centricity. JSR, 9(2), 113–124.
  • Navarro, J. (2023). Organizations perceiving CX as a competitive differentiator worldwide 2021. Statista.
  • Vanwersch et al. (2014). The RePro technique: a new, systematic technique for rethinking care processes. BETA working paper, 465.


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