Best practices for building a customer-centric culture

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At 1.3 in 10 companies, customer focus is a value (according to CMO Council).
Companies have been trying to adopt customer-centricity for nearly 20 years now. But the CMO Council reports that "only 14 percent of marketers say customer-centricity is a hallmark of their business, only 11 percent of their customers have the same perception about it."

What is the bottleneck for customer focus?

The amount of customer data now being collected must be handled correctly. Some companies do not have the processes and technology to segment and profile customers. As a result, they fail to create targeted communications.

The most common and perhaps the biggest barrier to customer-centricity is the lack of a customer-centric organizational culture. At most companies, the culture remains product-centric, or customer-centricity is only considered a priority for the marketing department. To successfully implement a customer-centric strategy and business model, it is essential that the corporate culture and mindset of all employees are aligned with the customer.

These best practices are already a step in the right direction :

1. Put yourself in your customer's shoes.

Empathy is a buzzword that sounds nice but few companies really understand what it means, let alone apply it in practice. Essentially, customer empathy is the ability to identify a customer's need, understand the reasons behind that need and respond to it effectively and appropriately. Observing your customers and trying to understand what they want and need will go a long way.

2. Test customer orientation when hiring potential employees.

From the very first interaction with potential employees, organizations must make thinking about customers and their needs a priority.
During the interview, recruiters should ask each candidate, regardless of role, a question that gauges their customer orientation. This is not just to assess candidates, but also ensures that each new employee is attuned to customer-centric thinking. Also, you also send a clear message to everyone about the importance of the customer experience at the company.

3. Share customer insights with the entire organization.

Every employee in your organization must have a customer-centric mindset so that they can understand the customers. Make sure you set up systems/services that enable this, e.g. listen-in, where you as an employee can listen in on the conversations between the call center operator and the customer.

4. Facilitate direct interaction with customers.

Think of ways your employees can communicate directly with your customers. Do not limit this to Front Office roles only, but involve everyone. Think of employee incentives for customers or company events where you also invite customers. This way, your employees are also ambassadors for your customers.

5. Link employee culture to customer outcomes.

Measuring = knowing. You can integrate several measurable indicators into your operational policies. Managers will be more motivated to cultivate a customer-centric culture if they can measure the extent to which it affects business results. What is certain is that there is a strong correlation between happy employees and happy customers. Happy employees, happy customers.

6. Reward your employee.

Reinforce a customer-centric culture by incorporating it into a reward system. This not only ensures that there is more commitment to the customer, but strategically you ensure that all noses are pointed in the same direction.
Culture and strategy go hand in hand; only when customer-centric strategies are underpinned by culture can a company realize its customer-centric vision.

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