The simple answer is – there is no simple answer. There’s no silver bullet that takes care of your consumer-centricity needs and keeps you on track. Our customers are all unique individuals, as are your businesses. Depending on the area you’re in and who your customer is, there are completely different needs that you have to meet in order to be truly customer-centric. And that’s the key, know your customer and what she values, make her happy and you’ll be winning.

It may help to start thinking what kind of relationship you want to build with your customer. Are you seeking a long-term connection or one time big purchasers? This will change what’s important for you to track and invest in to help build your appeal and success.

Here are some of the metrics you could use depending on what it is you want to track and measure. I’ve laid them out based on a simple 5 step customer journey. However, note that they are each simple metrics that only measure one aspect of the customers journey with you and won’t all be relevant to your business.

Entice – how do customers find out about you?
• Followers – track your growth in followers on social media
• Ad views – if you’re using paid posts track your ad views to ensure your targeting the right people

Enter – what’s the first impression we create for our customers when they first interact with us – in store, office or online?
• Website hits – how many and when (i.e. in response to posts or ads?)
• Foot traffic count – how many customers visit your store/venue? (again tracking different days and times will be important depending on the nature of your business)

Engage – how does the customer interact with you, is it a long process or quick? Is it automated or is there personal interaction?
• Browsing behaviour – tracking online movements of your customers via google analytics
• Dwell time – how long does a customer stay in your store/venue?

Exit – what’s the last impression your customer leaves with? How is the check-out experience, is there a follow up process?
• Basket size – average value of each customers spend
• Items per transaction – how many items sold in each transaction, speaks to how well you are selling a story or total package to your clients
• Abandoned carts – ratio of abandoned cart to completed sales
• NPS – Net Promoter Score, measures brand experience and willingness to recommend your business to a friend. I’m sure you’ve had this survey pop up after dealing with a bank or online store, you rate them out of 10, then they ask for the reason you gave that score… how well do you think it really measures satisfaction? I think if you’re putting this survey out there then you’re not customer centric, because it’s annoying. And annoying your customer is not a customer centric kind of thing to do.

Extend – does your customer return to you for a repeat purchase? Do they share and tell their friends about you?
• Repeat purchases – this requires a way to track customers when they come back to you, but a strong repeat customer base is a great goal to have
• CLV – Customer Lifetime Value, the overall value of spend your customer makes with you over their lifetime. Depending on your category the lifetime of a customer will vary e.g. selling baby clothes, lifetime may be 1-2 years, selling leather goods, lifetime may be 5 years.
• Churn rate – the ratio between customers lost and new customers gained acquisition
• Customer Feedback – this can be through many different channels like social media, google reviews or in person. It’s really important to engage and listen to your customers.

So, for many of you in small and start-up businesses, these measures may be new and unfamiliar. You may be thinking how on earth do I set these up to track? My advice if you’re super keen – google them, you’ll find the calculations and multiple articles on each one. However, if it’s overwhelming then I say, forget about them. Trust your instincts, feel what your customer is feeling, you’ll know if you’re doing well or not by the sales and growth in reach you’re getting. Controversial for an ex retail planner (who should be all about the numbers), but the most important lesson to take in retail is to know your customer inside and out and trust your instincts. We’re dealing with people, their actions are never logical or predictable, so measuring them just gives us a crutch to lean on and doesn’t give us the answers for what to do next.
My true belief is your sales will tell you how you’re doing. You can set up all the fancy metrics you like, but at the end of the day if the customer has bought in and is telling their friends about you, your team are happy and delivering great service, then you’ll see the results in your sales. Customer-centricity is all about understanding your customer and meeting their needs.

What do you think? Let me know if you disagree or have other ideas, super keen to learn from you and your experiences.
And, feel free to share this post if it’s been interesting or you think it could help a friend!

If you have any questions leave them in the comments – we will be running a live Q& A session this Friday – see you there!