Develop customer-centric vision and culture

6 min read

Does your company have a clear vision for the customer experience it wants to provide? If not, you're not alone. A recent study found that 88 percent of businesses say they want to become more customer-centric, but only about half of them are actually making progress. So what's holding the rest of them back? In many cases, it's a lack of understanding about what it takes to create a customer-centric culture. Many organizations struggle to create a customer-centric vision that resonates throughout the company. But it's essential to have this type of vision in order to provide a consistent and positive customer experience. In this blog post, we'll discuss why it's important to develop a customer-centric vision and culture, and we'll provide tips for doing so.

But before we dive deep into that, let’s define what customer-centric organization means.

What is a customer-centric culture?

Being customer-centric means every value, system, and process within a company is centered around creating great customer experiences for their customers—not just through the point where they engage with the business—but their entire experience. In a customer-centric organization, every person shares the goal of creating great customer experiences. From the C-Suite leader to the retail associate, each individual understands that their customer is the most important part of their job and that they have personal responsibility and an important role to play in making that customer’s experience the best it can be.

Why is being customer-centric so important?

"The customer is always right." - we've all heard the saying. But just how true is this today?

Well, according to recent research, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than competitors that are not focused on customer experience, and it has so many other benefits, that we’ve discussed in detail in our previous blogs.  So it's safe to say that customer-centricity pays off.

You see, if you want to succeed in today's business landscape, your customers should be at the core of everything you do. It's not about customer service anymore; that's yesterday's news. You need to give customers a reason to come back for more; you need to create an experience that is so good they can't help but tell the people around them about it.

But how can you make this happen? How can you put your customers at the heart of your business? Customer-centricity can’t be achieved overnight. It is a continuous process that requires dedicated commitment from everyone in the organization as well as a conscious shift in mindsets and behaviors. Follow our 10 tips below, to begin shifting to a customer-focused environment across your company.

So how can you develop a customer-centric vision and culture and implement it in your organization?

1. Establish customer-centric values

Start by establishing a clear set of values throughout the company. Ensure that empathy is one of the core values among your employees. Empathy is how we understand what the customer needs and why they need it—it's the ability to identify what they're feeling and respond appropriately. Empathy can help you find solutions that go beyond just checking off boxes—it helps every employee build relationships with the customers, so they know they can trust us to support them through thick and thin.

2. Create awareness

As you work to put your customers first, you will also need to drive awareness of your customer-centric values. You can do this through a mix of regular training sessions for new and existing employees, active communication channels within the company to distribute your company's values visibly, and a strong feedback loop to ensure that customer experience is given priority.

The employees who run your day-to-day operations have a significant impact on how customers perceive your brand. When hiring, evaluate future employees not only for their skills but also for their attitude, customer orientation, and personality. People who embody the attitude you want from your team will take initiative and go above and beyond in helping customers.

3. Make everyone accountable

Let’s face it: we rarely think of customer experience as a shared responsibility. We tend to believe that only those who directly interact with customers are in charge of delivering the best possible experience. Well, that is not entirely true. Everyone in the company is responsible for ensuring a flawless customer experience. However, they might not be aware of it. Every department and every employee can have an impact on improving customer experience and should be empowered to do so. Moreover, each one of them should know how and why they should contribute to delivering a great customer experience.

So if you want your employees to improve the customer experience, reward them for doing so!

4. Listen to your customer and make feedback available for everyone

Getting a deep understanding of your customer and their expectations about your products or services is important to make sure you are building the right product that delivers value to your customers. The best way to get valuable feedback from your customers is by listening to them directly.

Customer feedback is a great way to get a deep understanding of your customer, build empathy and gain actionable insights. Listening to your customers and sharing their feedback with everyone in the organization can help you in two ways: it can help you get a better understanding of your customers’ expectations and requirements and It will create a shared understanding among employees that they are all responsible for customer satisfaction.

A strong customer feedback process can enable your team to understand customer requirements better and develop better ideas on how to improve products and services based on real-world data and feedback.

5. Measure customer outcomes

It’s a fact: you can’t improve what you do not measure. That’s why measuring customer outcomes is key to delivering the best customer experience possible. Measuring the impact of your customer experience efforts and the satisfaction of your customers will help you understand what needs to be improved. Share this information with everyone in order for them to have a better understanding of where changes should go next! The key metrics you can track are Customer Effort Score (CES), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Net Promoter Score® (NPS).

6. Empower employees

If you want to provide a great customer experience, you'll have to empower your employees. And that doesn't just mean giving them the tools they need—it also means supporting them when they make decisions that go above and beyond their job description to serve the customer better. Encourage them to make decisions on their own that they feel will benefit the customer. Employees should feel confident making on-the-spot decisions to exceed customer expectations. You can support your employees by delivering tools, guidelines, and the space to solve customer problems, and then give them free rein to do so in their own way.

In addition, companies need to develop ways for employees who don't interact directly with customers on a daily basis—like those in back-office functions—to interact with customers directly, even if only occasionally. After all, every employee impacts the customer experience in some way.

7. Invest in professional development

Invest in your employees. For them to continuously create a positive customer service culture, they should have the proper training  To empower them to do this, you should be providing continuous professional development opportunities.

First and foremost, employees should be knowledgeable about the products and services your company provides. In additona, they need the skills to empathize with customers. Every business should consider this when developing customer service policies and training programs—customer satisfaction shouldn't be tied down by rules and regulations but encouraged instead. Support your employees by delivering tools, guidelines, and the space to solve customer problems—then get out of their way!

8. Hire for customer orientation

The most tangible thing you can do to create a positive customer-centric culture is hiring the right people who embody your values.

Ask questions during the interview process that will help you gauge their orientation towards customers. Examples of such questions could include inquiries about how they would deal with a difficult customer service situation, what strategies they would use to upsell a product, or about the situation where the candidate went above and beyond for the customer. By asking these types of questions, you can get a better sense of whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for your company.

9. Improve the employee experience

The employee experience is a critical factor in creating and maintaining happy customers. In fact, they're the two sides of the same coin: when you treat your employees well, they'll be more likely to share their happiness and loyalty with customers. That's why, when we expect our people to deliver the best customer experience possible, we equip them with the right tools to drive more delightful interactions—which will, in turn, help them feel just as great as their customers feel after having a positive experience. In fact, we believe that great customer experiences begin with great employee experiences!

10. Reward and Celebrate Customer Success

When an employee goes above-and-beyond for their clients, recognize them!  Sharing employee wins and praise from customers will show the rest of your team what kind of goals are expected. This motivates other people on staff to do better in future interactions with clients too because they know there could be some serious perks if you go all out during every job interview or meeting - like extra pay (or even promotion!). The key here isn't just recognizing these efforts but also rewarding them financially so that everyone feels motivated by success instead; this way no one feels left out.

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The takeaway is that becoming customer-centric does not happen overnight. It’s a gradual journey that requires the entire company to be on board and support it. Leaders must model customer-centric behavior, employees need to be empowered to deliver enhanced customer experiences, and everyone needs to be aligned with the vision. When these pieces come together, you create a powerful force for change that will help your business thrive in today’s digital age. Are you ready to make the shift?

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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