Is Your Leadership Team Committed to Customer Centricity?


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If you ask any CEO you are most likely to hear he or she is committed to building a customer centric culture. It is very common to find customers first’ in a company mission statement. You will hear customer service is a priority.

But is it?

If you are a customer experience professional, you probably have been frustrated trying to get the company moving on a customer centricity initiative, or to prioritize activities or programs that prioritize customer experience over other initiatives.

Yes everyone might get the customer satisfaction report and might not like the NPS score – but is the organization really committed to making the changes necessary to prioritize customer experience?

How can you tell?
There is a very simple test: is customer service a cost center or a diver of business value? you can tell simply by looking at the metrics. If it is a cost center, it will measure things that need to be reduced or eliminated: time on a call, calls per day, etc.

For customer-centric companies every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to further the relationship. An opportunity that is appreciated and valued – not eliminated. These companies not only track NPS per call, but probably tie the bonus of a customer service agent to customer satisfaction.

It’s a matter of strategy
This is a very important point to understand: customer experience and customer service is not for every company – even though most will claim it is.

We all hear the statistics of how customer service drives loyalty and profitability and you have probably also read stats about companies that treat customers poorly are ultimately doomed. The truth is that these statements are only true when customer service is an essential part of the company’s overall strategy.

There are three basic business strategies. A successful company can only pursue one: lead with product leadership (think Apple or Microsoft) through investments in R&D, lead with lower price (think WalMart or McDonald’s) through investments in operational efficiencies and standardization, or lead with customer intimacy (think Nordstrom or Ritz Carlton) through customer service and customization.

For example, DirecTV is awarded as the worst company in America. And yet it is very successful and very profitable. For Rackspace on the other hand, customer service (“fanatical support” they call it) is the fundamental differentiator and competitive strategy – the primary source of business value.

At DirecTV there is probably a (very frustrated) customer experience team. At Rackspace, fanatical support is the job description and the top priority for everyone.

If your customer experience efforts are not finding traction, you may be at the wrong company.

Gerardo Dada
Marketing Strategist, Technology Marketer, Entrepreneur, Photographer, Foodie and family guy. I have been lucky to be at the heart of the Web, Social, Mobile and Cloud revolutions working for companies like Microsoft, Rackspace, Motorola and BazaarVoice. Today I work as VP of Product Marketing and Strategy for SolarWinds a public (stock: SWI) fast-growing technology company. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on strategy, marketing and leadership.


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