Becoming Customer Centric

Becoming Customer Centric

Jan Moore, an entrepreneur, says, “Nothing happens until someone sells something. And nothing is sold until you have a customer to sell it to.”[i] Without customers, there is no business. Therefore, we start the XES at the center: the customers.

One of our favorite questions to hear is “Why are our customers spending their money with us rather than with our competitors?” We know that distributors who start answering this question are on a path to success. Amazon, with its goal to be the most customer-centric business, has this question deep at its core. In order to answer this question, we must understand what motivates the customer. To appreciate the power of the XES, we must understand more about why and how customers buy what you sell.

First, we must understand why people buy.

In the 1950s, Will Schutz created a theory of human behavior known as FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation).  There are three main interpersonal needs that people seek: affection, control, and inclusion. Edgar Papke says it this way: “Customers want: attention, competency, and caring.” When customers’ needs are met, they feel good. When they are not met, customers get frustrated and angry.

In the B2B world, customers are trying to complete their job. They want reliability and quality (competency), they want to feel like they are important (attention), and they want to be treated well (caring).

Customers will each have a preference for one out of the three. Your company will also meet one of these needs more than the others. In his book True Alignment, Edgar Papke says, “Often, we define customer experience without fully understanding it, which is why companies become misaligned with their customers’ expectations. Companies must explore the full scope of that experience to understand how to deliver to it.”

Do you understand your customers’ general preference? Is your company aligned to that preference? Most B2B customers have a preference for either competency or attention. At B2X Partners, we reach out to distributors’ customers and ask: “Why do you buy from Distributor ABC?” In more than three thousand surveys and interviews, we’ve seen a gap between what the company sees as its strengths and what the customers perceive and value.

Understand your customers’ needs. Align your business and your Digital Branch with those needs.