What exactly “is” a Customer-Centric culture? A customer-centric culture is a business philosophy where the organization is invested holistically in putting the customer front-and-center of their strategy. An independent study by Deloitte research reports client-centered companies are 60% more profitable than those that aren’t. What this looks like in practice may differ from company-to-company due to the market an organization serves and the maturity of its solution(s). However, fundamentals and commonalities exist so every business may start building a customer-centered culture from inception. Here are a few tips in getting started on this path.
Realize adopting this strategy and driving this philosophy starts at the top. If the CEO is not 110% invested and willing to visibly display the attributes associated with a customer-focused leader, the effort will fail. The executive team must drive this mentality throughout the organization leading by example via consistent, visible, and measurable acts they’re accountable to on behalf of the clients. Executing an effective Top 25 program, conducting account interviews, and building meaningful executive-level relationships with their customer contacts are all examples of meaningful steps leadership may take to assure they’re walking the talk in putting the client front-and-center.
Put programs and tools in place that empowers and encourages customers to provide a consistent stream of feedback. These may include in-application surveys, client advisory boards, and post-engagement questionnaires. You must be prepared to review, act upon, and transparently share this information throughout your business and with your customers. This approach will create opportunities to show clients you’re listening, learning, and allowing them to help drive the strategies and solutions you’re providing them.
Challenge and hold accountable the entire organization in their obligations to the customer. The engineer, office manager, and accountant must be adept at answering the core value your customers have to realize, possess the ability to name key accounts, and have a complete command of how their roles and outputs directly impact client’s opportunities for success with your products &/or services. Supervisors and managers need to own creating the environment for these capabilities to flourish and be held accountable performance measurements around them to assure it sticks. Companies investing in pushing these fundamental responsibilities beyond their customer-facing staff will create greater empathy, ingenuity, and teamwork towards solving customer problems.
Bottom line, a customer-centric culture steers your entire business towards constantly creating positive outcomes for its customers. This leads to happier, healthier, and longer relationships with clients, and increased customer satisfaction, referrals, and retention metrics to the provider. For organizations wanting to perform in the upper-echelons of their markets, implementing a client-focused culture is the one strategy they can not afford to wait on.