woman on mobile The days of marketing teams building brand by crafting a company’s image behind closed doors are over. Customers now have the say. They always had opinions, but now their voice is heard by millions thanks to the rise of social media. That means it’s more important than ever to deliver experiences that people rave about and recommend.

It’s critical to understand what customers really think about your brand, products, and services, and how you can take action to deliver what they want and need most.

How do you equip your organization with the insights and tools to get there?

4 strategies for delivering CX that earns loyalty

We’ve seen proven results with companies that take a data-driven approach and actively engage employees to create a customer-centric culture. As you develop your roadmap for success, consider these four key strategies:

1. Understand how to delight your customers using Voice of the Customer

What are your customers saying about your company? Find out and put those insights to work through a Voice of the Customer (VOC) program. Once you map your customer journey, you can leverage volumes of valuable data. Insights help you more clearly understand the customer experience across every channel and touch point, and build a complete picture of their relationship with your business.

With NLP and text analytics, you can capture insights from both structured and unstructured data. Start with surveys and transaction data, toss in call center transcripts and customer support email, and be sure to take advantage of social media comments.

VOC analytics give you a real time pulse on how customers perceive your company, and help you spot pain points and emerging trends. But don’t just look for negative impacts. VOC is also a great way to spotlight what delights your customers so you can reinforce and replicate it. And you might discover unmet needs to give you competitive advantage.

2. Deliver on your brand promise with a customer-centric culture

In a Forrester® report, 34% of marketing leaders surveyed point out that, “having a clear understanding of the customer across the company” tops their list of brand-building challenges. Do your employees understand what your customers want most and how to deliver that?

To build a customer-centric culture (across lines of business or enterprise-wide), a great place to start is by defining and socializing your customer value proposition. Fueled by research with customers and prospects, your value prop clarifies the benefits and differentiated value you deliver to customers, based on what they told you they want most.

The big win is that your value proposition creates an actionable vision to unify your company culture. It enables your business leaders and employees to focus on key concepts and consistent messaging for articulating your brand value.

But it also defines a core theme about how everyone should approach doing business, putting customer needs first – through every interaction, every day. It’s a mindset you want embraced by every layer of your organization from frontline employees to people managing back office processes.

That customer-centric mindset fuels a winning brand more than any popular products.  Provide hands-on training and model language tools for your employees to learn about your CVP and how to bring it to life. Spotlight and reward customer experience champions in your organization, and encourage teams to share customer-centric best practices that help mentor other employees.

3. Offer highly relevant experiences and better anticipate needs using predictive analytics

Consumers have more choices than ever, and demands and expectations are changing rapidly. To drive a brand and customer-focused culture that effectively keeps pace with change, it’s critical to consider the value predictive analytics can bring to your organization.

Advanced analytics can give you competitive edge by unlocking the power of your data to understand and predict customer behaviors.  Understanding what’s most relevant and desirable to customers, what drives their purchase decisions is key to marketing ROI. It enables marketing, sales, and even customer service teams, to focus their efforts on engaging customers with the right messaging, at the right time and channel.

Along with improving customer satisfaction and retention, predictive analytics can help increase the value of existing customers with nuanced segmentation for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. As an example, imagine you can equip your Sales and Marketing teams with insights on customer buying patterns across numerous segments and scenarios. They could tailor offerings, campaigns, and incentives that are most likely to resonate with certain customers at certain times.

4. Increase emotional connection to your brand

When your customers feel you genuinely care about putting their needs first, they’re more likely to stay and even celebrate your brand to others.

Whether you gain insights through a Voice of the Customer program or engage customers directly to research your value proposition, it’s mission critical that your company understands the practical –and emotional— drivers behind customer purchase decisions. With real knowledge on how to please your target audiences, your employees can more easily map their behaviors and communications to the ideals that inspire positive emotional connection with your brand.

A core component of being customer-centric is empathy. Encourage your employees and management to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. For every touch point in the customer journey, your teams should ask themselves things like, “How would I feel in this situation? What would be most helpful for me? What would leave me feeling great?” Then work on improving processes and communications that enable employees to deliver a more compelling customer experience. Even if you can’t create a unique experience for every customer, when you make their needs your top priority, they will love you for it.

Although your customers have a strong say about your brand based on their experiences, your employees and processes are the real drivers that determine how your brand is perceived. Strategies such as Voice of the Customer, advanced analytics, and Customer Value Proposition can help you better understand your customers and position your organization to deliver what they want most.

Shifting your company mindset and actions to produce win-win scenarios at every touch point can help convince customers you have their best interests in mind. When both your employees and customers approach each future interaction with a positive view, you may see sales soar and servicing issues fade away. Everyone wins, and loyalty increases all around –which may be your most powerful asset in a competitive market.