A Customer-Centric Culture is Everyone’s Job

business (7)Jim was making a large purchase of electronic equipment, add-ons and accessories.  He did his research on-line and was planning to buy it all on-line.  However, he wanted to see some of the components, so he went to a big box store.  The salesman was attentive, informative and offered discounts on various items.  Jim made a several thousand dollar purchase in the store due to the salesman’s help, knowledge and flexible pricing.

Jim was so impressed with the customer service that he asked to talk to a manager, to compliment the salesman.  After some time the manager showed up complaining that he was on a break and was unhappy with being interrupted.  As Jim tried to praise the salesman the manager was impatient and uninterested.

He even tried to take credit for the sale, arrogantly saying “I taught him everything he knows.  I should be the one you’re thanking”.  Jim walked away still happy with the salesman, but dissatisfied with the company “who should know better than to promote such an oblivious jerk to a management position”.

In a customer-centric culture it’s everybody’s responsibility to understand and uphold the company’s clearly communicated principles.  These succinct and focused set of values and norms guide how employees think and act, day in and day out.  It’s a culture where the customer’s perspective and experience is embedded into the company’s DNA.

Establishing and maintaining this culture is an on-going project which requires discipline and commitment at all levels.  All of the employees are responsible for monitoring, supporting and mentoring each other.  The best customer-centric cultures flow from top to bottom and bottom to top.

When the principles are at the center of every action, decision, conversation and strategy it becomes harder for a company to lose its way.   The company’s purpose becomes the companies “why and how”.  Why are we doing this?  How will it help the customer?  It helps a company stay focused on the reason why they’re doing what they’re doing – their purpose for being in business in the first place.

Then everything they do to design the customer’s experience will be aligned with this purpose.  Remember, customers buy from and return to the brands that they feel committed to, ones with which they feel aligned.  Many companies lose their purpose and then lose their focus, which weakens their customer’s commitment, leading to the business faltering and eventually failing.