Culture as Customer Experience King


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In case you thought it was April Fool’s, we’re actually into the second quarter. This month, we’re tackling the idea of customer-centric culture as customer experience idea #1. Little else has the impact on the experience you deliver to your customers more than the experience your employees have. Your culture – that internal customer experience – is about as vital as it gets.

Customer-centric culture drives everythingHow important is employee engagement to business results? How do you create a customer-centric culture?

  • In one study, it showed restaurant employees with better employee experiences had per-person check averages that were $2.02 (6%) higher than restaurants with a fair to below average employee experience. That’s saying something.
  • According to a Profiles International study, about $350 billion is lost because of employee disengagement. (What should we call anti customer-centric cultures?)
  • Those companies with high traditional engagement had a slightly higher margin of 14 percent. Companies with the highest “sustainable engagement” scores had an average one-year operating margin of 27 percent, according to a study by Towers Watson.

Your friendly neighborhood CXI® team is here to investigate why a customer-centric culture seems easy for some and elusive for others, as well as other cultural conundrums during the month of April. Here are a few topics we’re excited to explore:

  1. What does employee engagement actually mean?
  2. How do you measure your customer-centric culture authentically?
  3. What are the best companies doing to ensure positive customer-centric cultures?
  4. What can growing companies do to tackle this issue?
  5. Why should you invest in culture? What are the best investments?

You with us? We hope so. The best investigations are collaborative, and we’d love your input! What do you think are the keys to a customer-centric culture? What are the downfalls?

Photo credit: CourtesyChevy via Creative Commons license

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. Jeannie, thanks for a great post.

    For sure, employee engagement is important in business. It is related to business outcomes like improved retention, higher productivity and even better customer experiences.

    But “engagement” is a measure of commitment to the employee’s job and the company. It doesn’t necessarily imply that the company is focused on customers, unless the culture of the company aligns jobs with customer needs.

    Also, while most think of engagement ‘driving’ customer experience, the studies cited usually just show a correlation. It’s possible that CX is also driving engagement.

    A 2003 longitudinal study (designed to show cause and effect, not just correlation) by Schneider, Hanges and Smith found a stronger “causal directionality flows from financial and market performance to overall job satisfaction.” (For more on this, see my article: Employee Engagement: Putting the Cart Before the Horse?.)

    Kate Feather wrote about this somewhat counter-intuitive influence in Why Do Employees Deliver Great Customer Experiences? It’s Not ALL About the Money!

    PeopleMetrics research has revealed that a company’s “customer focus” is actually a driver of Employee Engagement. Our 2011 Employee Engagement Trends Study found that employees who work in a company that emphasizes customer focus as a part of its strategy are nearly twice as likely to Agree or Strongly Agree that they plan to continue working for their current employer, that they go above and beyond for customers, that they would recommend their employer, and that they love their current job.

    Yes, companies should strive to have more engaged employees. But they shouldn’t assume that will automatically translate into better experiences or happier customers, unless the company strategy and culture is aligned with customer needs.


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