Customer-Centric Culture Builds Customer Experience Maturity and ROI

Customer-centricity is controversial. Ask 10 people what it means and whether it’s good, and you might get 10 different answers. For example:

  • We ARE customer-centric!… because we have exciting engagement programs.
  • Customer-focus is important as long as we’re meeting analysts’ and shareholders’ expectations.
  • Feedback is useful for front-line employees; it’s irrelevant to our special-knowledge functions.
  • Customer-centric innovation is a mistake: customers don’t know what they want.
  • Customer intention research is tricky: you can’t trust what customers say they’ll do.
  • Customer-driven is a slippery slope: customers will always want more, and gratis!
  • We ARE customer-minded!… because we talk to customers everyday.
  • Some of our employees work at customers’ sites.

What is true? And how can a whole company “get on the same page”? It boils down to 3 things:

  1. Who is the source of your revenue? (i.e. paychecks, budgets, dividends)
  2. Why would the way you manage customer relationships be any different from the way you manage personal relationships? (i.e. being personable, being fair, being generous, anticipating needs, etc.)
  3. What motivates or penalizes mindsets and behaviors in your company?

Introspection and quality dialogue about these 3 questions can help you make sense of the nonsense that people think.

“Culture” is an entity’s way of thinking and doing, so if you want to adjust your culture, you need to become a master at weaving new habits into everyone’s attitudes and behaviors. “Centric” means to be centered on something. Hence, customer-centric culture means that everyone’s decision-making and actions must be primarily motivated by what’s best for customer relationship strength.

Customer Experience Maturity

To build CX maturity, customer-centricity is an absolute must. There’s no way to achieve CX excellence when parts of your company are carrying out their jobs with disregard to customers. It’s systemic, like the organs in your body. One bad apple can spoil the barrel. Customer-centered culture is a building-block for CX ROI (return on investment; business growth). It’s informed by CX strategy (i.e. your corporate strategy) and enabled by internal branding.

In our 4-year study of CX practices, we noted that numerous tools for centering the business on customers are under-utilized, or not even considered as part of the CX management strategy. This spurred us to create a CX maturity assessment with stepping stones designed to help you achieve enduring CX ROI. Here’s a glimpse at the customer-centric culture stepping stones:

  • Setup for Customer-Centered Success: shared vision across functional areas and at all managerial levels, establishing engagement and accountability for everyone’s contributions – these are setup via team-based CX strategy development.
  • Nurture Customer-Centered Mindsets: to influence everyone’s thinking, coordinate managers of CX efforts and weave CX criteria into hiring and onboarding, developing and promoting, measuring and motivating.
  • Encourage Customer-Centered Behaviors: apply customer inputs and CX criteria to planning, decision-making, recognition, rewards, and collaboration.

Of course you want to maximize business results from your CX efforts. The earlier you strengthen your customer-centricity roadmap, the sooner you’ll see amplified results in customers’ trust of your company, employees’ engagement in CX management, and business growth.