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Topic(s): Customer Centricity

4 Ways to Create Company-Wide Customer Obsession


GOAL: Generate real customer experiences to engage customers

Customer experiences that add real value lead to emotionally engaged customers...

  • ... who won’t leave you for a competitor,
  • ... who will forgive your little mistakes,
  • ... who are willing to co-create to make your company’s offer even better,
  • ... who will promote you in their network,
  • …. and more!

These emotionally engaged customers drive your bottom line.

CHALLENGE: Get everyone in the company on board of the CX ship

If you’re reading this article you believe, like many others, that CX is one of the best ways to establish a competitive advantage and to engage your customers. Your company has probably set out the different customer journeys and identified the associated touch points. You’re ready to generate amazing customer experiences with your customers on the moments of truth. But you can’t do this alone, you need everyone in the company to join you on this journey.

hello customer blogNot everyone in your company might feel they impact the customer experience because they’re not in customer-facing roles. Or maybe some of your colleagues don’t really know what is expected from them when they’re asked to ‘put the customer first’. Finally, we all know old habits die hard. If you want your fellow workers to create more customer centric habits, they need to be reminded regularly about the mission to put the customer first.

SOLUTION: Employee Engagement

A customer obessed company can think along with the customer, exceed expectations, proactively service the customer and thus create real value. A customer-oriented culture cannot be bought, it needs to grow in the company. Employee engagement is a prerequisite for a customer-obsessed culture that can generate heart-warming customer experiences. Employee engagement should thus be high on the priority list of every company that wants to differentiate through their customer experience.

How do you engage your employees so that a customer-focused culture is anchored in the organisation?

From experience with our own customers, we’ve abstracted 4 best practices for a successful journey towards employee engagement and a customer-focused culture that enables employees to generate wonderful experiences with customers.

1. Behavioral Change: COM-B model

This model for behavioral change is very simple but effective. The conduct of an employee can change when 3 conditions are met:

  1. CAPABILITY: The employee needs to know what behaviour is expected of him/her.
  2. MOTIVATION: The employee must be motivated to behave in a different or new way. It’s important that they understand the goals of this behavioral change. Explain them why customer centricity is so important for the company and illustrate what’s in there for them.
  3. OPPORTUNITY: Your colleagues need to practice the new behavior. For this change to be successful, employees must encounter situations where they can learn through trial and error what kind of customer centric actions suit them and are appreciated by the customer. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly from the beginning. Definitely don’t pressure them by for example linking their NPS to KPI’s. Secondly, as mentioned, old habits die hard. Build in triggers for the new demeanor so they’re regularly reminded.

An easy way to get started is by sharing (positive) customer feedback from the start of this change journey. You’ll see the change in the engagement of your colleagues rise when they understand the customer appreciates their efforts!

 hello customer blog com b model


2. Incremental change

Build a step-by-step change approach towards a customer centric culture.

  1. START SMALL & FAST TO REALISE VALUE FOR THE EMPLOYEE IMMEDIATELY – Identify the quick wins for every employee. Start with a touchpoint where your colleague can improve the current experience of the customer easily. If big process improvements within the company need to happen before a customer can be serviced in a delightful manner, this is not the most adequate touchpoint to start with. Finally, share positive customer feedback with the employee. Positive feedback has the effect of a compliment to the employee and it reinforces the desired behavior  
  2. TAILOR-MADE APPROACH – Every employee should be the owner of their change process. Help them take the first steps by identifying a touchpoint where they can make a difference for the customer. Coach them when they’ve received feedback of less satisfied customers. Prevent taking control by for example giving them the ‘Company’s Bible of Customer Centric Behaviors’. This journey needs to result in a change in mindset, customer centricity is not a role in a play supported by a script.
  3. CELEBRATE SMALL SUCCESSES – To motivate your colleagues, identify existing customer centric behavior. Share positive customer feedback with them and acknowledge that the company is well on their way to obtain the goal of customer obsession. Learn how others have done it here.

Starting small and easy gives people the feeling of self-efficacy. Individuals who have high self-efficacy will exert sufficient effort that, if well executed, leads to successful outcomes, whereas those with low self-efficacy are likely to cease effort early and fail.

3. Bottom-up communication via ambassadors to build trust

hello customer blog trust

Customers trust product or service recommendations from people they know over other sources of advertisement. The same applies to this change journey. Positive word of mouth by peers is extremely valuable for the success of this journey.

Build a team of stakeholders of different levels in the organisation. These engaged employees believe in the value of customer experience, have a natural customer centric predisposition, and have a strong profile within the company.

Create an environment where these customer centric ambassadors can share their best practices and communicate memorable experiences with customers through storytelling. For some colleagues, the threshold to ask questions about customer centric behaviour is lower when they can talk to their peers.

4. Top-down communication of the continuous buy-in on C-level

Finally, it’s of utmost importance that the highest levels of the company lead by example for the rest of the company to stay motivated and participate. Communicate loudly and continuously about the support of C-level for this shift towards customer centricity.

Patrick Gibbons puts it this way: 

"Company leaders don’t need much persuading—they know customers are important. In fact, many of them spend quite a bit of time with some of their top accounts and they will stress the importance of customers in company and department meetings. And yet the majority of employees need more than a pep talk to prompt a change in their behavior."

Start listening to your customers, capture feedback about their experiences with your company and share this feedback throughout the organization. Everyone in the company will understand what is appreciated by customers and they will feel empowered to go the extra mile. By sharing feedback, everyone is constantly reminded that this shift towards customer centricity works! Employees will enjoy working for your company even more and engagement will increase. More delightful experiences will occur and your customers will become more engaged. Happy employees lead to happy customers.