The fact that ‘customer is king’ is implicit in every single business interaction – it is now simply common sense good management to always meet your customers’ needs and place your customers at the heart of your business strategy; achieving complete customer-centricity.
Transforming your company culture then becomes important, as it is this which enables customer-centricity; a company may have multiple customer-centricity strategies and initiatives but these rarely work effectively without embedding the appropriate company culture.
The following 4 stages are a broad framework for embedding a customer-centric culture, and highlights how Customer Satisfaction UK can aid you in your efforts to transform your culture.
1. Executive Commitment
Firstly, senior management must buy into the idea of a completely customer-centric company; C-Suite involvement is always key to transforming the culture of a company. In practice, this may involve executives adapting their leadership style to “lead by example”, showing their appreciation for employees by working some front-line shifts or even creating new roles in the senior management team to be held accountable for this major aspect of business. Appointing a Chief Customer Officer or creating a Customer Experience Team ensures that customer-centricity remains at the forefront of operations and strategy.
2. Understand Customers’ Needs
Gaining an insight into your customers’ needs, opinions, expectations and experiences is now integral to improving customer-centricity. By profiling customers through a customer satisfaction survey programme, you can map the customer journey and achieve an objective perspective on how customers are serviced at each touchpoint in this journey.
Customer Satisfaction UK not only provide extensive, in-depth bespoke customer satisfaction survey programmes, we also offer internal presentations of the results to help you communicate customer needs across your organisation. As an independent, trusted 3rd party, we can aid engagement and commitment to a customer-centric culture.
3. Employee Engagement
Perhaps the most important stage in creating a customer-centric culture is engaging your workforce in the culture transformation. Key to this concept is a holistic approach – customer-centricity must be a priority for the entire company, including the non-customer facing employees. Every employee owns a process that impacts on customers even if they don’t directly deal with them.
- Empower Employees: Give front-line employees the power to resolve issues without escalation. This not only enhances efficiency; your employees will also feel that they are decision-makers and an important and valued part of the company.
- Connect departments: To create a common purpose of customer-centricity, cross departmental working and education across different business functions is essential. In some companies, non-customer facing employees can work shifts on the front-line and vice versa. This environment of shared understanding and mutual respect means employees are less likely to resist the inevitable change that comes with transforming culture.
- Reward Employees: Motivated and satisfied employees will be the best ambassadors for a positive culture change. Restructure the way your company measures and rewards employee success. Create performance objectives that are directly linked to the improvement of the customer experience and celebrate employees who employ customer-centric behaviours. This will ensure that customer-centricity is deeply embedded into both the everyday processes and long-term goals of your workforce.
Happy staff work more effectively, more creatively and will go the extra mile for customers. Find out if your employees are happy, measure their motivation and alignment to your company goals with Customer Satisfaction UK’s employee satisfaction surveys, a perfect complementary tool to our customer satisfaction surveys.
4. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
Having a customer-centric culture is largely about ensuring a process of continuous measurement and improvement – it is this ongoing monitoring that will ensure the culture is embedded into the very fabric of your organisation. Customer and employee feedback drives this journey of continuous development and improvements to your processes and strategies.
Customer Satisfaction UK can provide your company with an ongoing monitoring programme, benchmarking your initial position with a diagnostic survey and put in place a fully-rounded improvement programme of customer and employee feedback and reporting.
…everything comes back to PEOPLE – embedding a culture and becoming a truly customer centric company will always require employees and staff members to change. Additionally, companies must acknowledge that customer-centricity should not be treated as a project, an initiative or a one-off event. It is a long and complex journey, a state of mind and only by accepting this philosophy will organisations achieve complete, sustained customer-centricity.