Unlocking Customer-Centricity: Five Models to Transform Your Business

Posted On: June 24

It is one of my mantras: “Whoever owns the voice of the customer owns the marketplace.” As simple as this idea is, shockingly few businesses are truly customer focused. Why not listen to the people who pay all the bills? This seems like a no-brainer. It should be a core element of your strategy.

Based on research from Strategy + Business Magazine, there are five customer-centricity models. Innovation, consistency, empowerment, intimacy, and purpose. Each model creates a unique customer experience and requires specific employee behaviors. 

1. Innovation

This model makes customers feel ahead of the curve. Apple is a prime example. They focus on new and bold products. In innovation-focused companies, the culture rewards new ideas and celebrates “fast failures.” Supercell, the gaming company behind Clash of Clans, exemplifies this. They celebrate when employees decide to terminate a game mid-development. Fostering a culture that embraces risk and innovation drives customer excitement and loyalty.

2. Consistency

This model ensures a reliable, predictable experience. Customers expect the same products and services every time. They feel relaxed and reassured. Companies that excel here avoid risk and follow established processes. Employees adhere to formal procedures rather than improvising. Consistency builds trust. Organizations that prioritize this model often see high customer retention. McDonald’s is a perfect example. You get the same burger in Boston or Beijing.

3. Empowerment

This model makes customers feel cared for. It invests frontline employees with knowledge and autonomy. For example, Ritz-Carlton allows employees to spend up to $2,000 to resolve guest issues without managerial approval. This approach fosters a culture of trust and problem-solving. Empowering employees to take ownership of customer issues leads to higher satisfaction and quicker resolutions.

4. Intimacy

This model creates a special, personalized experience. Companies tailor products and services to individual customer needs. They often organize employees into small, dedicated teams. This is common in financial services, hospitality, and retail. Deep, long-term customer relationships are valued. This model often creates stronger customer loyalty and higher lifetime value.

5. Purpose

This model aligns customer experience with shared values. It emphasizes emotional connections over transactions. Patagonia is a standout example. They prioritize environmental passion even at the expense of profits. Companies that lead with purpose can inspire deep customer loyalty and advocacy.

The model your organization chooses will significantly impact your strategy. It will drive critical decisions and determine resource allocation. Deployed successfully, it can generate a solid competitive advantage. Companies can use more than one model but must do so thoughtfully.

For leaders, the most critical customer-centric model is focusing on employees.

They are your most important customers. Another of my favorite mantras is, ” The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience.” The number one driver of engaged, satisfied and loyal customers is engaged, satisfied and loyal employees. That seems like a no-brainer, too. It’s also shocking how few companies do this well.

What model does your organization use?

Do you think that model will allow you to win in the marketplace?

Do your leaders treat your employees as “VIP” customers?


Strategy development is essential, yet often overcomplicated. 

Strategy Made Awesomely Simple transforms the complexities of strategic thinking into straightforward, understandable ideas. You will master thoughtfulness in decision-making, crafting clear, achievable goals, and executing them with precision. Enhance your business with strategies that work. I look forward to guiding you and sharing strategic thinking techniques that will take your business to another level of success. 

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