Are Customers Culturally Part of Your Business?

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Most companies would agree that customers are the lifeblood of their organization. The customer archetype has gone through several iterations in its shift in the modern digital business world. Shouldn’t how we interact with customers shift with the changes in their needs and values? In a world where customers have more options than ever before, it’s critical to meet them where they are to ensure the success of the company.

The customer-centricity philosophy relies on placing the customer at the center of all decisions, and in turn, allowing your company to build products and solutions that best represent the customer’s needs. Becoming a customer-centric organization requires a business and its employees to be curious about customer needs so there is no guesswork involved. Just actionable, personalized solutions.

Becoming customer centric requires a transition on two fronts: A cultural shift as well as an operational transition.

A cultural shift involves empowering employees to directly impact customer experience and to believe they can make a difference. Both for traditionally customer-facing teams as well as employees who are far from direct customer interactions.

Customer Centricity Starts at the Top of Your Organization

For customer centricity to be culturally a part of your company, leadership needs to empower employees to directly impact the customer experience, and guide employees to understand the importance of that responsibility and why it matters to the business.

Customer-centricity isn’t just about bringing in leadership who can turn the direction of an organization to focus on various initiatives; it’s rooted in leaders that truly believe in empowering customer-facing employees to not only respond to customer feedback but react on what is collected and make changes based on customers’ needs. Focus on small modifications at both the technical and process levels that have the capabilities to snowball into larger, more impactful changes.

Bring Your Customers’ Voice into Your Meetings

Once your organization has empowered customer-facing employees to positively affect their experience, how do you continue to expand on customer-centricity and this shift of engraining the customers’ experience in every aspect of the business?

Really, it’s about making the buyers of your products or services the stars of your daily meetings. Bring customer stories, use cases, and solutions to your standups, meetings, and planning sessions. Customer stories provide companies with the most relevant information on how they drive value from products and services. When customer stories are actively discussed by internal employees, it places the entire business much closer to the customer. When the customer experience is openly involved in meetings, conversations shift from discussions of guessing what customers want, to understanding and knowing what is needed by the customer.

Being aware of what customers are looking to accomplish is critical, and the goals of your customer and non-customer-facing teams must align with understanding the customer experience. It’s about focusing on what makes your customers successful, not just what they need from your products or solutions. Customer centricity is not attainable unless employees understand every angle of the customer journey and are empowered to directly assist in the customers’ experience.

Cultural Shifts Take Time

A transition in an organizations’ culture is important to ensure the customer is the lifeline and ultimately, the pulse of a company. As the customer experience model continues to evolve, organizations of all sizes must gear their focus to ensuring that the customers’ experience is examined and central to organizational goals.

Cultural shifts for any sized organization can pose several challenges; it can take time to implement to provide the greatest impact. Do not be discouraged if the results are not instant. Instead, look where these changes are headed. Gear focus towards making small adjustments that lead towards larger, more company-wide changes, like bringing your customers’ voice and stories into everyday meetings. When real customer stories are being brought to and discussed during internal discussions, Customer Centricity is engrained in your organization.

Once the philosophy of customer centricity at the cultural level is established in your organization, we then begin to focus on how these cultural shifts drive and develop into actionable organizational changes. In my next blog post, I will explore how operational transitions empower employees to impact the customer experience.

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