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What Does ‘Customer-Centric’ Mean?

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What Does ‘Customer-Centric’ Mean?

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The term customer-centric is pretty self-explanatory, however we can elaborate on its interpretation. Wikipedia’s definition of user-centered design is a helpful start: “User-centred design (UCD) is a framework of processes (not restricted to interfaces or technologies) in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product, service or process are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process.” The terms human-centered, user-centered, customer-centered, or customer-centric are interchangeable as, in the end, they mean the same thing – putting the user of your products or services at the heart of your business and your design process.


[bctt tweet=”Put the user of your products or services at the heart of your business and your design process” “via @pomegranate_exp”]


Customer-centric companies are not only involving users in their process – they are allowing user needs to drive the whole company’s strategy, as they feel that in order to truly understand the customer’s needs, you need to empower them. The famous professor of psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, states that:

“If we’re more involved in something, if we co-create, we feel a sense of accomplishment. Companies that relate to the ‘meaning’ layer of human nature are able to provide a natural two-way communication that enables customers to co-create the culture arising around the organisation and therefore establish deeper relationships”. 

The customer-centric approach is often difficult to digest for traditional meeting- room-brainstorm enthusiasts, who are used to hypothesising about user needs, behaviours and problems. Suddenly the ideas they thought are working turn out to be totally misaligned with how their customers perceive the world. However, when people overcome the scepticism and listen to the users, they are amazed how eye-opening and exciting it can be for them!
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Which famous companies follow this approach?

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We have selected a few of examples we consider worth taking a closer look at. These companies have harnessed the user-centered design methodology and are following this approach, transforming it into their strategic advantage.
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  • AirBnb
    A company co-founded by a designer, Joe Gebbia, is currently one of the leading forces of the hospitality industry. The latest $1.5 billion round of funding values the company at $25 billion, larger than the market capitalization of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
  • Amazon
    A giant that requires no introduction. Jeff Bezos, a passionate user-centered businessman, implemented a scalable business model which relies on: Offering fast, hassle-free ordering and delivery and going out of the way to help customers get the best deal. Every design team is customer-centered, relying heavily on user testing and data analysis.
  • Zappos An online store selling… shoes. Their core advantage is exceptional customer service, which they extensively train their employees on. Zappos takes pride in the fact that 75% of their purchases come from existing customers. One of the innovations they applied to the traditional service model was to stop measuring call times and focus on quality and transparency.
  • MailChimp
    This world leader in email marketing software keeps surprising the digital industry with tons of new features every year, yet it manages to keep brand consistency across all business activities. How? By applying a user-centered design approach to everything they do, starting from the brand tone of voice to the user interface and development tools.
  • TransferWise
    This London-based startup is a true disruption in the ntech industry – providing an exceptional level of design and business transparency, the company is ghting to simplify money transferring services across the world, intercepting millions of transactions from overpriced banking services.

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Michal Mazur

Connect with Michal on LinkedInIf you want to discuss this subject further, contact us here!
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