Many B2B organizations recognize the importance of focusing on customer experience in order to drive results and growth—being customer centric is simply good for business. Despite this, most companies are not quite there yet. According to Forrester, only 23 percent of B2B companies have embraced a customer centric approach to their organizational structures. Becoming a customer centric organization may seem like an overwhelming challenge, but making the investment in this culture shift is worth it. When striving to become a more customer-centric company, consider the following strategies to ensure success.
Create Corporate Clarity
Building a culture of customer centricity requires a clear vision and set of values to create a shared foundation. These ideals must be reflected in the actions, behaviors, and thoughts of both leaders and employees when making decisions. The message of customer centricity should be distributed clearly and consistently throughout the organization via meetings, everyday conversations, emails, and company message boards over a sustained period of time. Throughout the transformation to a customer centric culture, reiterate the vision in multiple ways and make it part of the company’s DNA to keep people motivated and engaged.
It’s also important to recognize that just spreading the vision of customer centricity is not enough to create lasting change. It’s essential that every person sees their part in the vision and knows what individual changes they need to make in order for it to become reality.
Offer Practical and Relevant Training
Becoming a customer-centric organization takes more than just alignment on what that means. If employees do not have the necessary skills to make the shift, practical training will be essential to the success of the initiative. Skills that support customer centricity include teamwork and collaboration, process improvement, innovation, proactivity, creativity, and communication.
Keep in mind that becoming customer centric might be a dramatic shift for employees who have not previously needed to think about how their roles can impact the customer experience. This change in mindset and behavior will require new skills, complete information about the customer journey, support from leaders, and tools to make sure individuals are always acting in a way that positively influences the customer experience.
Once you’ve provided this training, follow up with a reinforcement strategy to ensure that the impact of training is not lost when they return to work. In order for the shift to be successful, employees must resist the impulse to return to what is familiar. Keep the message alive through relevant and practical retention and reinforcement activities.
Communicate Clearly and Often
Any new initiative in an organization requires clear and frequent communication in order for it to take hold and for new habits to form. It’s also important for leaders to remember that communication is not a one-way street. In a customer centric culture, employees must feel empowered to share their ideas and feedback. This is what helps shape an exceptional customer experience.
Set up easily accessible mechanisms, such as monthly surveys and space for sharing customer stories, for employees to provide feedback and contribute ideas. It’s important to act on this feedback so that employees know their voices are being heard and valued. This will also help empower them to continue contributing in a way that supports a customer centric culture.
Track and Report Progress
When they’re in the midst of a culture shift, people in an organization want to know that their efforts are paying off. Set relevant goals and milestones and track your progress along the way. This might include fewer product returns, more referrals, a higher Net Promoter Score, fewer complaints, less churn, more renewals, or other metrics. Report the results of your tracking so you can determine what is working well and areas for improvement. Celebrate successes to motivate employees to continue the activities and behaviors that support customer centricity.
B2B customer centricity can help give your organization a competitive edge. Becoming customer centric doesn’t happen overnight; it requires sustained effort. This is possible with a clear vision, ongoing training, and tracking and reporting to support the shared goal. To learn more about the steps you can take to become a more customer centric B2B company, read our guide, The Rise of the Customer Experience in B2B.