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3 Notable Ways to Build a Customer-First Business

Corie McHugh
December 23, 2020

3 minute read

Building a customer-first business is a true art form, as demonstrated in Episodes 3, 4, and 5 of the Often Imitated podcast. To achieve that level of art, not only do you have to keep a keen eye on your business, but also be attentive to the minor details that make or break a customer experience. These episodes spotlight three distinguished CX leaders and how they developed new businesses by putting their users first.

Here are 3 notable ways to build a customer-first business, as highlighted in the podcast episodes.

Always keep the consumer in mind

Episode 3 interviews Dustin Cohn, Head of Brand & Marketing at Goldman Sachs Consumer and Investment Management, about his development of Marcus, a new consumer-first finance product. Cohn says, “Marcus, by Goldman Sachs, started with a blank sheet of paper, meaning we could talk to consumers and understand their pain points and look to address those pain points.”

By creating a new product, along with a brand new customer experience, Marcus kept the consumer in mind at every step. Cohn added, “It has to be the consumer’s voice at the table that is the loudest. Sometimes that’s going to require really hard decisions in terms of shutting down certain technology or revamping a particular product or redesigning an experience that may be a heavy lift for an organization. But ultimately, that consumer should be all of our guiding light.”

Build an experience around your customers

According to the interview in Episode 4 with Tonio DeSorrento, CEO and Founder of Vemo, the most successful way to know whether your business is truly designed with a customer-first initiative comes down to asking your customers yourself if it’s working. When developing Vemo, an organization focused on helping schools help students, DeSorrento wanted to understand and meet the needs of people in the world of educational finance whose needs weren’t already being met by the government’s monopoly of student loans.

DeSorrento notes, “First, pick the right customer. Second, meet the customer’s needs. You have to love that customer and build an experience around them.” He decided to do something different and make an impact on his community by developing a partnership concept with colleges instead of a loan concept. Vemo makes the customer (the colleges) the hero by having them become the enrollment manager whose job is getting students to, and financially through, school.

Anticipate a customer’s needs

When CX is done well, the customer gets what they need before even asking for it. Episode 5 features an interview with Ali Diab, CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Health. According to Diab, “Collective Health is the first integrated solution that allows self-funded employers to administer plans, control costs, and take care of their people,”

After being hospitalized and receiving an incorrect bill for thousands of dollars that his insurance company should have taken care of, Diab became proactive and founded a user-friendly health insurance company. He took the time to understand what a person’s health care journey looks like and anticipated their future needs. Diab mentions, “Through that unexpected anticipation of a customer’s needs, you really leave a mark in their mind and show them that spark of magic.”

For more CX lessons, listen to Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5, and subscribe to Often Imitated to be notified when new weekly episodes are available.

Corie McHugh
Corie McHugh is originally from New Orleans, studied English & Theater at Florida State University, and she received her Masters in Theater Education from NYU. She has a passion for the arts and has worked in the education world for over twelve years. In her free time, she enjoys managing social media, writing, cheering on the Saints, and spending time with her two year old son.
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