Companies have been trying to develop more customer-centric cultures for decades. Yet, even with new technology solutions that make it easier to connect with customers, many businesses find it difficult to shift to customer-centricity fully. Data from the CMO Council indicates that only 14% of marketers believe customer-centricity is a hallmark of their companies. What's more, just 11% believe their customers would characterize their companies as customer-centric.
Customer centricity is defined as putting the customer at the center of a business's efforts, from product development to marketing and customer support. Doing so requires leadership support, empowering employees, and designing a compelling customer experience. An industry report from Deloitte explains that customer-centric companies are generally 60% more profitable than those that aren't focused on the customer. According to a survey conducted by SurveyMonkey, companies with a customer-centric culture are also more likely to have engaged and loyal employees. "Eighty-three percent of people who work for companies that prioritize customer satisfaction are at least pretty sure that they’ll still be there in 2 years," SurveyMonkey explains. "The percentage of employees that would stay with companies that they don’t think focus on satisfaction? 56%."
While it may not be easy to develop a customer-centric culture, doing so has clear advantages. In this post, we'll explore six different ways that you create a more customer-centric organization.
1. Promote Active Listening
One of the best ways for individual employees to build trust with customers is to listen actively to what they have to say. Putting customer interests first requires every person in the organization to develop more empathy. Encourage your support staff to research the people they are trying to help and review data that can help them understand every customer persona. Learning more about your customers will help employees handle requests more effectively and result in a higher level of customer satisfaction.
2. Align Your Core Values
No matter what approach you take toward customer-centricity, it's crucial to align your corporate values with the effort. If your values are well-chosen, they should reflect employees' behaviors and be easy to understand. Some companies even go as far as documenting their commitment to customer-centricity as a part of their written values. There should be at least one company value that promotes customer-centric behavior.
3. Hire and Train to The Culture
Even with the most customer-centric values and company culture, it's impossible to make progress without employees that embrace your strategy. Hiring employees based on skills and experience will always be necessary, but don’t forget to consider attitude. Making an effort to assess soft skills related to your customer-centric values can make a positive difference when it comes to hiring. Another way to reinforce your commitment to customer-centricity is to include these themes in your employee onboarding and any ongoing training that you offer. That way, you can not only hire great employees but also reinforce desired behaviors and best practices over time.
4. Prioritize Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an excellent benchmark for measuring your company's ability to meet customer needs effectively. One bold strategy that some companies employ is to make customer satisfaction the top priority, with a commitment to doing whatever it takes to ensure customer happiness. Doing so can have a drastic impact on your work processes and schedules, but it's also a surefire way to direct your effort toward customer needs. Shifting your focus and putting customer satisfaction at the forefront can demonstrate a clear commitment that your customers will notice.
5. Collect Customer Feedback
Without a continuous flow of customer feedback, it can be impossible to know if changes have the desired impact. As you develop plans to be more customer-centric, don’t forget to design surveys that provide valuable insights into customer satisfaction and other essential metrics. Using well-structured surveys that ask the right questions can give you an excellent baseline. Follow-up surveys at key touchpoints throughout the customer journey allow you to track your progress over time.
6. Use Technology to Connect with Customers
With so many excellent tools available today, it's easier than ever to connect with your customers. Customer support teams can now offer omnichannel support to customers around the clock. One excellent tool that directly supports a customer-centric strategy is the customer portal. Customer portals give your team the ability to share helpful information with your customers directly while also giving them a bird's-eye view of their support ticket history and providing easy access to self-service options like knowledge bases. Empowering customers is a useful way to build more trust and create a more collaborative environment for your employees and customers.
Developing a customer-centric culture requires the involvement of the entire company and a willingness to make bold decisions. These two factors alone often prevent many businesses from achieving their goals. Any number of strategies can be used to develop a more customer-centric culture, and it's essential to set the right goals for your team. Committing to a long-term goal of becoming genuinely customer-centric can have a lasting impact on your company’s customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and overall performance.