How a Customer-centric Culture Creates Success

By focusing on creating consistent, highly positive experiences for the customer, Xplor Mariana Tek has become a leading boutique fitness software solution.

We all know that focusing on your customers matters, but embracing a fully customer-centric culture is a competitive differentiator and a proven path to better revenues. According to Deloitte, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those who aren’t focused on the customer.

The idea of a customer-centric culture isn’t new. It dates back to 1954, when famed business consultant and author Peter Drucker stated, “It is the customer who determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper.”

Today, a customer-centric culture encompasses a set of beliefs, strategies, and values designed to position the customer as a central point for the organization's success. It focuses on creating consistent, highly positive experiences for the customer.

Keys to a Customer-centric Culture

For the team at Xplor Mariana Tek, a leading boutique fitness software solution, setting the cultural standard begins with hiring.

“Our goal is to bring aboard empathetic, passionate, and, ideally, industry-knowledgeable team members who not only are excited about what we are building to help solve our customers’ problems, but to also solve the problems of consumers of our customers’ brands themselves,” notes Mollie Navarro, vice president of customer success.

That means a laser focus on tailoring the product to solve customer issues.

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“Our founders came from an in-house boutique fitness brand, so we’re obviously focused on the customer experience,” she says. “And when our team can truly understand what the customer is experiencing or trying to solve, it creates a trusting and empathetic environment that allows us to more effectively translate that feedback into our product and operations to continue to improve—all for the better of the customer.”

Building culture is also about who the team at Xplor Mariana Tek hires. They employ industry professionals and enthusiastic consumers, including studio owners, managers, and instructors, throughout their departments, which Mollie says helps them better understand the specific needs and challenges—and speak the same language—as their customers.

She adds that the culture is also driven by two of Xplor’s core values, “building for people” and “creating lasting communities.”

“We do both every day by eliciting direct roadmap feedback in our software and through our conversations with clients. We also do extensive customer and consumer research, which helps keep our customers informed on what’s next,” Mollie says. “All this work keeps us abreast of what our customers need and want and keeps communication open.”

Communication is Core

In addition to its customer feedback loops, Xplor Mariana Tek strongly emphasizes direct customer communication.

“It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble when it comes to decision-making,” Mollie says. “We talk to our colleagues all day. How often do we talk to our customers? We work hard to have ongoing, meaningful conversations with our customers.

“Product development, support, and ongoing innovation need to be fueled by our customer’s truest needs. If we only have a surface-level understanding of our customer’s problems, we can only provide surface-level solutions.”

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She also notes that it’s not up to just one department to engage with customers. As opposed to putting the onus for communication on a single team, like customer success, all of Xplor Mariana Tek’s teams get out in the field, visiting customers, understanding their pain points, celebrating their victories, and helping them navigate their businesses.

“This includes customer success, support, onboarding, marketing, research and development, product, and more,” Mollie says.

Leveraging Customer Contact

In addition to forging closer customer relationships, Xplor Mariana Tek’s consistent level of contact helps the company understand client pain points and challenges and what they’re doing to differentiate themselves and innovate in the fitness space.

“Everyone wants their business to be successful, and for us to help our customers get the most out of the platform, we need to understand how they operate,” says Mollie. “If you haven’t visited boutique studios in person, it’s hard to understand what the day-to-day is like. A lot of studio owners are wearing many hats, working around the clock to get their brands off the ground.”

Those learnings then help Xplor Mariana Tek provide targeted offerings geared more toward their customers' wants and needs.

“For example, we heard from our clients that they want to celebrate their members more, so we created the Year in Motion. Like Spotify Wrapped, the Year in Motion celebrates studio member’s achievements throughout the year with stats like class count, average class count per month, top instructors taken, longest week streak, etc.,” she explains “Members can share their results on social media to show their achievements and promote their studio’s brand. Last year, nearly 300 studios switched on the feature, and in the first 24 hours, we saw 15,000 views, 6,000 shares, over 11,000 views and shares, and 500-plus new classes booked.”

Celebrating Customers

Part of the customer-centric culture at Xplor Mariana Tek involves recognizing clients. To that end, the company has created the Xplor Mariana Tek Awards based on the clients who use its platform. The awards serve to recognize and celebrate customer achievements across a range of categories throughout the year.

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“We’re excited for the opportunity to shine a light on the amazing accomplishments of these business owners who are building their own strong communities through fitness and wellness,” she says. “We’re proud to be the software solution that powers these amazing boutique studios.”

Becoming More Than a Provider

Over time, Xplor Mariana Tek has developed its customer-centric culture cornerstones. They include:

  • understanding customers’ needs and challenges,

  • building strong relationships,

  • letting go of the idea of “one-size-fits-all” and offering personalized solutions,

  • empathy and awareness,

  • continuous feedback loops,

  • customer-focused leadership, and

  • always viewing things, challenges, products, and ideas through the customer’s lens.

“Our customer focus has helped us shift from software provider to almost that of a business partner,” states Mollie. “Xplor Mariana Tek is a software product, but we know that our approach to serving client needs—and having them be central to what we do—helps fuel so much of what our customers do.”

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Jon Feld

Jon Feld is a contributor to Club Business International.