- Customer centricity has become a critical success factor for company growth because a focus on improving the customer experience supports the achievement of company objectives. A survey conducted by Adobe found that customer centric businesses are more likely to outpace their competitors and twice as likely to exceed their business goals. Customer centricity goes beyond providing great customer service; it occurs when every person in the company sees everything they do through the lens of the customer.
A customer centric culture is only possible when individuals in the organization have the necessary skills to put the customer at the heart of every decision. However, creating a great customer experience goes beyond training. Here are four effective strategies to build a customer centric culture.
Understand the Customer Journey
Building a customer centric culture requires first understanding the customer journey, from the moment people encounter your brand to the point where they become engaged, loyal customers. These days, customers have many opportunities to learn about a company through online research and reading customer reviews. In most cases, the customer journey begins before they ever make a purchase, and individuals in sales and marketing aren’t the only ones who have an impact on customer experience. Therefore, it makes sense to understand all the different points along the way where employees can impact the customer journey. For example, accounting staff who process payments and R&D staff who design new products all have opportunities to impact the customer journey and therefore the customer experience.
Ensure Frequent Communication
For everyone in the organization to understand the importance of improving the customer experience, there must be regular communication about expectations and opportunities for individuals to discuss, share, and learn from their experiences. According to research conducted by PeopleMetrics, the customer experience is positively impacted by internal communications that allow individuals to share information and ideas to help each other overcome obstacles that impact the customer. Some of the ways to increase communication in support of greater customer centricity include:
- Building customer centricity into company values and communicating them broadly so that everyone sees the importance of the customer in the organization’s purpose.
- Weaving the needs of the customer into organizational and individual goals.
- Ensuring that messages from company leaders tie back to the needs of the customer.
- Providing opportunities for two-way communication, including ways for employees to give feedback and ask questions about how they can pursue more customer centric behaviors.
Build Customer Centricity Skills
Some individuals, especially those not in customer-facing roles, may not realize that they have an opportunity to impact the customer experience, so it’s best to show them how. Training, particularly experiential training in which individuals learn by doing, can show employees how to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and how to recognize opportunities to improve the customer experience. Customer centricity training provides individuals with the knowledge and tools to:
- See how their function and role impacts the customer experience.
- Identify the areas where they can personally improve the customer journey.
- Take specific actions that demonstrate their commitment to the customer experience.
Measure and Track Progress
Customer centricity is a journey, not a one-off initiative. More than a fad or flavor of the month, it takes time to be fully realized. Any time individuals need to approach their role with a different mindset and use new skills, proper reinforcement and measurement are necessary to ensure you don’t lose momentum or drift back into old ways of doing things. In addition, you’ll need to measure customer feedback, customer retention figures, and other metrics to ensure you capture the desired ROI of a customer centric culture. Some of the other ways to measure and track progress include:
- Using assessments to understand employee mindset and abilities in supporting customer centricity.
- Providing employees with ongoing coaching to help them identify and take actions to improve the customer experience.
- Celebrating wins and examining failures to ensure a climate of continuous improvement.
A customer centric culture isn’t built overnight, but there are some specific strategies that can help to develop one. The customer experience isn’t solely the responsibility of the sales and marketing teams—all individuals in the organization have the ability to impact the customer experience. When individuals have the mindset and skills to support a customer centric culture, the result is more loyal and engaged customers.