How to make your small business more user-centric

By Lexie Lu

A small business focused on its customers builds brand loyalty and attracts word-of-mouth referrals. However, figuring out how to make your brand more user-centric isn’t always an easy process. There are many moving elements in building a user-centered brand, including your online and offline presence.

About 76 percent of consumers say they expect businesses to offer them a great customer experience (CX) and meet their needs. Experts see CX as the great differentiator in the coming years of a highly competitive marketplace. Here are some things you can do to make your business more user-centric and grab consumers looking for personalized experiences.

-Develop a customer-centered culture

Creating a brand that focuses on customer care requires attention to all the little details and understanding how to customize the experience for everyone your brand interacts with. To accomplish this, your employees must be trained to pay attention to the customer and to understand they are the sole focus of everything. As a business owner, you must stress that rules can and should be broken if it helps the client. Don’t punish workers for seeking creative solutions to keep your patrons happy.

-Create a positive UX on your website

Sometimes the first interaction a customer has with your brand is via your website. Spend time focusing on building a good user experience (UX), and your customers will feel satisfied. Think about some of the websites you’ve visited that are easier to use, such as Kroger’s Clicklist or Amazon’s browsing features. These sites have a customer-centered design that takes into account whether people are browsing from a desktop or mobile device and make the process as intuitive as possible.

Pay attention to the small details of your website, such as the color palette, where call to action (CTA) buttons are located and how long your site takes to load. Test everything and make sure your visitors respond positively, making changes when needed.

-Develop new offerings

One of the best ways to expand your business is by looking at your current customers and offering additional products they might be interested in. One example of this type of model is the Walt Disney Co. It noticed women were one of its big buying demographics but realized it didn’t have a beauty line, so it tested this concept.

You can copy this model by looking at your target audience and what their interests are. If you aren’t covering something and it makes sense for your brand to do so, try offering a few things and see what the response is. The goal is always to meet the customer’s needs.

-Help new customers

Some products and services are easy to pick up and use, and others require a bit more effort to learn. Think about what you offer and how a new customer might run into trouble. If the item has to be assembled, how can you better provide information on how to do this? Perhaps some informational videos would show them the steps needed for completion.

You could also offer in-store demonstrations or training workshops. Whatever you sell, think about the learning curve new customers have and figure out ways to make both the buying and use experiences as positive as possible.

-Find the pain points

Some experts caution that user-centric means focusing on the needs and not just the wants of the customer. Think about the problem that drives someone to your business in the first place. If you sell ice cream, for example, the need could be a craving for something sweet or simple hunger. However, you must also dig deeper and realize that some people are fulfilling a need for time with their family or creating positive experiences for their children. Once you’ve narrowed the pain points to a few top ones, make sure you fully solve that issue for the user.

Ask your customers

If you want a truly customer-centric approach, survey your current clientele and ask how you can better serve their needs. They know far better than you what they’re looking for in an experience with your brand. Pay careful attention to complaints, as these are areas where you might improve. Spend time on your CX, and you’ll develop a loyal band of followers who will remain lifelong customers.


Lexie Lu is a web designer and CX enthusiast. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media and branding. Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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