Customer experience (CX) has gained a newfound glory in today’s industrial landscape. CX along with employee engagement are the focal points for companies who are looking to improve brand loyalty and customer engagement. One of the ways of achieving this is by adopting a customer-centric organizational culture. But what is an organizational culture? What do you mean by a customer-centric organization? We will first answer these questions and later, move onto various challenges that companies face in adopting such a culture. Lastly, we will talk about the strategies to overcome the challenges.
What is Organizational Culture?
Every organization is unique and has its own personality.Thus, in simple words, this unique personality is known as its culture. Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. Every organization develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behavior of the members of the organization.
Culture is not something that is built overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort. Usually, it flows from the top and trickles down to the bottom. Actions, behaviors, tangible and/or intangible items, can all, help in building the culture.
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is a consequence of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization. According to Gartner, Customer experience is the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with an organization’s employees, systems, channels or products.
What does it mean to be a Customer-Centric Organization?
Customer Centricity is not only about giving the great customer service, but also the best customer experience at all the touchpoints. The touch points are our Moments of Truth. A customer-centric organization is the one which takes care of this from the first stage of the customer lifecycle to the last stage. It is all about putting your customer at the core of your business. Only then will the organization be able to develop a long-term customer-centric culture.
Challenges in Implementing a Customer-Centric Centric Culture
Even when we have intent to incorporate something, we are met with some obstacles and hurdles. It’s no different in this case also. Following are four major challenges that an organization might face while implementing a Customer-Centric culture:
#1. Resistance to Change
We love our comfort zone. It is a familiar territory, easier to maneuver and succeed in. Thus, we see resistance to change. People don’t want to break away from that zone and experiment, do something different. But it is important to make the message clear that if one does not move from their current position, they will not move forward, there will be no growth.
#2. Top Management Buy-in
To bring in a change, we need change managers. The top management is the change agent that we need. It is a top-down approach. The idea of keeping the customer experience at the core of the business has to come from the top. Only then will it have more impact.
#3. “Product First” Mind-set
Times have changed, so should the organizations. Now customers are aware and overexposed. They know what they want. Thus, the aim should be to build a product based on customer needs rather than building the product and then creating a buy-in.
#4. Short-Term view of the Customer
In their hurry to sell the product, organizations focus majorly on first-time customers, new buyers and hardly pay any attention to renewals. To provide the best customer experience, we need to ensure customer feedback. This feedback will prove valuable for future product development and in providing better services.
Bringing about a change is not easy. Inculcating a culture of Customer Centricity to enhance customer experience requires a time and constant effort. After all, it takes years to become an overnight success.
Let us look at some ways to overcome the above challenges and make customer centricity a big success.
1. Lay the Groundwork for Change
Bringing about a change in an organization’s culture is a big deal, which requires acceptance of all the stakeholders. Thus, it becomes imperative for all the change agents like the top management or key players to prepare the organization for change. The change should not be abrupt as that will create chaos and hamper the functioning of the organization.
2. Ensure Customer Feedback
Customers can be your best critics. Companies should ensure that they provide various channels across touchpoints for customers to share their feedback which in turn should be shared with the employees. This communication loop will give valuable insight to the employees to provide great customer service to improve brand loyalty.
3. Align Performance Measures with Organizational Goals
The organization should recognize and reward employees who show the favorable behavior of providing great customer service. Moreover, the HR department needs to ensure the KPIs are in accordance with customer-centric goals. Rewarding and incentivizing the customer-centric employees to further encourage this behavior.
Providing excellent customer experience is the need of the hour. Putting the customer’s needs at the center of your business is the way to go. The companies who have acknowledged this are already working on creating a motivated and well-trained workforce who are aligned to the customer-centric goals of the organization. Revamping the culture of an organization is not an easy task, but with the right set of values and change agents, it is very much achievable. After all, brands are always looking to delight their customers to build long-standing relationships with them and customer-centric culture is just the first step in that direction.