Businesses that boast endlessly about their ‘customer obsession’ are mostly paying lip service, according to HubSpot’s managing director for APAC.

Shahid Nizami addressed this topic at the recent ‘Grow with HubSpot’ Singapore event, where he observed that claiming to be customer-first is frequently just “a trendy thing to say”.

In reality, he said: “Most businesses today are ‘customer eventually’. The customer is more of an afterthought.”

Brands need to understand that customers are more impatient, more sceptical and less trusting than ever before.

But there are strategies they can adopt, he added, as he outlined some findings derived from a survey of thousands of HubSpot’s own customers designed to understand how to build a company that people love. (For more, read WARC’s report: A code for customer-centricity: ten principles to win brand love.)

An important one in this is to “own your screw-ups” because 96% of customers said they would continue to buy from a company they regularly buy from if it had made a mistake, but went on to apologise and make it right.

“There’s a simple three-step formula to deal with your mistakes: The first is to say you are sorry. Second, actually be sorry. And more importantly, you make that better.”

Pricing should be open, clear and fair and, while the online buying process has to be seamless, don’t make it hard to cancel, he advised.

But perhaps the most crucial thing is more abstract. “If there’s anything that summarises the Customer Code, it would be this: do the right thing,” Nizami asserted.

“Do the right thing, even if it’s hard. In fact, do the right thing especially when it’s hard. Because when you do the right thing when it’s hard, you actually differentiate yourself.”

Sourced from WARC