5 Ways to Build a Customer Centric Culture
How do I get my entire team to care about the customer experience as much as I do? It’s a question most executives and managers of service businesses are grappling with. The answer? It all comes down to culture. The culture of a service brand will determine how much your team cares about your customers and their experiences. And while culture can’t be built overnight, there are certain things you can do that enable a customer-centric culture to flourish. Let’s take a look at five of them!
1. Engrain the Customer-First Mindset
Building a customer-centric culture starts with developing a customer-first mindset among ALL employees. From the top leadership to the frontline staff, everyone should be on the same page when it comes to a) the importance of prioritizing customer needs b) what exceptional customer experiences actually look like, and c) a benchmark for measuring CX success. Too often, service businesses preach to their employees that they need to deliver great customer experiences, but employees don’t know what awesome looks like, or have any way to know if they’re doing a good job. To truly engrain a customer-first mindset, use tools like service standards, customer feedback and frontline goals & recognition tools to help align everyone in an organization towards a collective goal.
2. Gather, Share & Act on Customer Feedback
To truly understand your customers and their ever-changing needs, it's crucial to gather their feedback systematically, share it with the right people and empower those people to act on it. Customer feedback should not be kept a secret, it should be spread far and wide across your organization. The more eyeballs on your customer feedback, the more customer-centric your culture becomes. Customer feedback also provides a useful guide for your frontline teams to understand what they’re doing well (according to actual customers) and what they could do to improve experiences for customers. This creates a sense of accountability and ownership over the customer experience which drives genuine motivation.
3. Invest the Frontline Employee Experience
You can't build a customer-centric culture without customer-centric employees. Employees are the driving force behind shaping and embodying the culture of an organization, so attempting to impose a customer-centric culture from the top down is unlikely to yield sustainable results. Instead, it must organically emerge from the bottom up, rooted in an environment where employees feel genuinely valued, recognized, supported, and motivated. Do your frontline teams have the technology and tools they need to thrive in their work? Do they have a clear idea of what their goals are each day, and a mechanism for understanding how well they are tracking against those goals? Do they have a strong support system? Do they have a way to provide feedback to their managers? By fostering an atmosphere that nurtures and empowers employees, organizations can cultivate a customer-centric culture that permeates throughout the entire workforce. An investment in the frontline experience is an investment in the customer experience.
4. Break Down Organizational Silos
In the pursuit of becoming customer-centric, organizations must recognize the importance of breaking down organizational silos and fostering collaboration among different departments. Traditionally, departments within an organization have operated independently, focusing on their own objectives and metrics. Bill from IT sticks to IT, and Jenny from R&D sticks to R&D. However, in today's customer-driven landscape, a fragmented approach hinders the ability to build a truly customer-centric culture. Each department possesses unique insights and expertise that, when combined, provide a comprehensive view of the customer's needs, pain points, and desires. By breaking down silos and fostering collaboration, organizations can bridge gaps in knowledge and align their efforts to create seamless, end-to-end customer experiences.
5. Tell Your Team They're Awesome, As Soon As They Do Something Awesome.
Telling your frontline team they're awesome (in the moment of awesomeness) is arguably one of the most important (and easiest!) ways to build a customer-centric culture. It’s all about catching your frontline employees in the act of serving the customer right. When you witness your team members going above and beyond, expressing genuine appreciation for their efforts can work wonders for morale and motivation. By acknowledging their exceptional performance in the very moment they deliver outstanding service, you reinforce the importance of customer satisfaction and highlight the positive impact they have on your organization. This immediate recognition not only boosts their confidence but also encourages a continuous cycle of excellence, where each remarkable act is celebrated and serves as an inspiration for others. By consistently acknowledging and applauding their awesomeness, you foster a customer-centric culture that thrives on exceptional service and sets the stage for long-term success.
Building a customer-centric culture is a long-term commitment that requires dedication and effort from every level of the organization. By developing a customer-first mindset, gathering and acting on customer feedback, investing in employee training, fostering collaboration, and recognizing customer-centric behaviors, you can create a culture that puts the customer at the center of everything you do. Remember, a customer-centric culture is not just a one-time initiative; it's an ongoing journey that requires constant evaluation, improvement, and adaptation. Embrace the customer-centric mindset, and watch your employee and customer experience thrive.