For many decades now, businesses have pretty much all sang from the same hymn booka when it came to putting customers first. We’ve all heard the songs: We only succeed when you do…The customer is always right…The customer comes first…

And on and on and on it went. It’s often seemed as though there was no end to the amount of sloganeering involved in industry’s efforts to make customers believe that they were the central focus of every company’s interest. In reality, however, there were few companies that ever did much more than talk about putting the customer first. With the advent of customer centricity, that may finally be changing.

But what does it mean to be customer-centric, and how can any company learn how to promote the business using customer centricity? Businesses that figure out the answer to those two questions will have a decided advantage against their rivals in the new client-focused marketplace that is emerging right before our eyes. Here are some key considerations that can help:

1. Commit fully to reorienting your business so that the customer is central to everything you do, and remind yourself every day that most of your competitors who are attempting to do the same thing are getting it all wrong. Their failure represents a real opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage in this area by making real connections to those customers.

2. When you alter your business to focus on the customer, make it everyone’s responsibility. All too often, the only departments that ever truly change their paradigms are those involved in sales and marketing. If that’s the extent of your customer focus, don’t bother. Every employee at every level of your organization has to buy into the customer-centric model for it to be authentic and effective.

3. Consider your customers whenever you make a business decision. Yes, it’s true that most companies tell themselves that they already do that – but they usually don’t. You’ll know you’re really putting your customers’ interests first the very first time you choose not to do something simply because you’ve analyzed the overall dynamics and determined that going forward with that plan will impact your customers in a negative way.

4. Make learning about your customers your company’s highest priority. Look, we’ve entered the Age of Big Data, and information can and should change how you operate your enterprise. As data becomes more vital to every aspect of the economy, your ability to get to know your customers will be crucial to earning their loyalty. Engage them in social media and every other area of your online and offline network and learn to understand their wants and needs so that your company can better meet both.

As customer centricity continues to seize the marketplace and drive how we do business, it presents new challenges and tremendous opportunities. If your company can alter its business climate to transcend to this new paradigm of customer engagement, you will find yourself outpacing your rivals who fail to adapt. Just learn how to promote the business using customer centricity, and place your company’s focus where it belongs: on the customers you serve.