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How to Practice Customer-Centric Innovation

Articles
July 24, 2020
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Recently, we were asked how PayNearMe is able to keep up with a weekly product release schedule while still staying focused on helping our 5,000+ customers collect every payment, every time. The answer lies in our approach to building technology. Instead of blindly following others in the industry or pushing for novelty features that sell sizzle over substance, we adhere to a core question: What do our customers actually want? 

Customer-centric innovation is more than a strategy. It’s a way of doing business that’s founded on the belief that a win for our clients is a win for our organization, and this approach will lead us in the right direction more often than not. This approach helped us ship 37 meaningful product releases in Q1 and Q2 of 2020, while winning the Fintech Breakthrough Award for Best Consumer Payments Platform for our innovative approach. 

Here’s what customer-centric innovation means to our team, and how you can adopt a similar ideology to delight your customers.

What Does It Mean to Be Customer-Centric?

Customer-centric innovation — sometimes referred to as client-centric — is a strategy that positions your customer at the very heart of your business. They become a top priority at all levels of your organization, the drive force behind every decision you make. The goal is to deliver a positive customer experience, build long-term relationships, and ultimately grow your business.

Customer-centric businesses typically utilize data to innovate their processes and products. For example, customer data can be used to:

  • Gain a better understanding of buying behaviors and engagement
  • Identify gaps in your offerings and pinpoint opportunities to create services that better serve your customers
  • Calculate customer lifetime value to segment customers and focus your efforts

Taking a customer-centric approach can yield significant results. One third party report suggests that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on the customer.

How to Introduce Customer-Centric Innovation Into Your Company

Customer-centric innovation will look different for every company, but the core principle remains the same: A business committed to customer-centric innovation fosters a culture, develops products, and introduces policies that support customers with a superior experience as they journey toward their goal. This principle can be leveraged to drive growth and improve performance by following these three best practices:

1. Start by Listening

The first (and most important) part of the process is taking the time to listen to your customers. This needs to be done at every stage of the customer lifecycle, from doing a thorough discovery in the sales process, to documenting onboarding requests and building ongoing forums to continue listening to customers over time. PayNearMe has introduced new features through all of these channels regularly, helping us to win new customers and continuously please existing customers with features that matter. 

2. Know Your Customers Needs

Customer-centric innovation must begin with what the customer really wants or needs, but the solution isn’t always what they think. Your job is to take their surface-level needs, and work to understand what the true root of their problem is so that you can build a scalable, thorough solution. For example, we’ve had clients ask for specialized logic they could implement in our platform. We realized that many of our clients needed to make slight customizations, and built our configurable business rules to allow them to customize our platform without writing code or breaking the core platform.

3. Build Relationships

Customer-centricity means focusing on the relationship between your business and your customers. The idea is to improve performance by maximizing the customer’s experience long-term, not just at one phase in the process. This means building a customer service organization that responds to requests and consistently meets with different leaders within your customer organizations to understand all their challenges. Over time, these relationships develop into dialogues, and these conversations can provide an endless supply of ideas. 

Leveraging Customer-Centric Innovation for Growth

Moving forward, customer experience is only going to become more and more essential to a business’s success. And the only way to deliver a competitive customer experience is to adopt a customer-centric mindset, to focus on minimizing customer effort, and maximizing customer value.

With the customer at the helm, you can leverage key insights about their behaviors and preferences to improve your organization’s performance and ultimately drive growth.

Innovative technologies that cater to changing consumer expectations are critical in this process. PayNearMe helps you put your customer first by allowing them to pay how they want – today and in the future.