How to Create a Customer-Centric Organization

Customer-Experience-Management-Customer-Centric-Organization

The goal of any professional sports team is always to win the ultimate prize.  As many of us saw this past weekend, in American football, the ultimate prize is the Super Bowl.  In European football, it’s the World Cup.  In baseball, it’s the World Series.

To the casual observer, it may seem as if the top prize is earned by the athletes who happen to prevail over their opponents in the final contest – just sheer competition on the field of play.  Anyone knowledgeable about professional sports, however, knows that winning a championship requires the focused commitment and hard work of an entire organization made up of people who engage in the sport itself and others who labor tirelessly behind the scenes.  Managers, coaches, scouts, logistics workers, PR representatives, front office personnel, travel planners, team accountants, equipment managers … the list goes on and on.

Why can some professional sports organizations, often those with enormous payrolls, arm themselves with the very best players, yet struggle their way through the season and finish with mediocre results, while other organizations with much less in terms of player talent and resources can somehow find a way to ultimately prevail?

While there is no simple answer to this question, I do know this: winning a championship is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without a common vision, one that drives the organization to excel and serves as a compass for everyone within the organization as they work day after day in pursuit of the common goal.

Creating a customer-centric organization requires the very same spirit, the very same drive.  Sure, the organization has to be guided by the right customer experience management philosophy – the vision to create an excellent customer experience with every customer interaction.  That customer experience management philosophy must flow down forcefully from senior leadership through middle management and directly to front-line customer-facing employees.

But here’s the thing: even the best customer experience management strategy will never be completely successful on the front lines of customer service if the rest of the organization does not share a common vision for the customer experience.

Entire organization means just that – Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Inventory, Credit, Finance and Accounting, Logistics and every other department.  And it means supervisors, middle management and senior leadership.  In order for your customer experience management strategy to be effective, that one common service vision must be embraced and engrained in every corner of the organization and lived out every single day, leader to leader, leader to employee, employee to employee and employee to customer.  This customer experience management vision should become the guiding force for the entire organization’s approach to its valued customers.

What does one common service vision mean? 

Well, it looks a little different in every organization.  But it always begins with a thoughtfully and intelligently crafted customer service vision statement from the very top of the organization, one vision statement that clearly demonstrates a top-down commitment to the customer.

It also means that everyone within the organization is able to connect a straight line between what they do every day and how those activities eventually support the highest quality customer experience possible.

Everyone within the organization should be challenged to come up with an answer to this one simple question:  What is my personal touchpoint to the customer experience?

For some it will be obvious, and for others it may take some creative thinking.  But it should be an exercise in which every single employee can engage.  That takes the customer service vision and makes it real.

Why is having a common customer service vision so critical?

There are main three reasons:

  • A common customer service vision communicates to the front-line employees that the customer experience is not an isolated initiative or expectation for them alone, but that the entire organization is focused on building customer loyalty.
  • It messages to all employees that building customer loyalty is a critical focus for the organization and that the customer experience should guide the actions and behaviors of everyone throughout the organization.
  • It positions the focus on customer loyalty as a top priority for the organization’s leadership team.

Remember, capturing the ultimate prize takes a championship team giving a championship effort, but it always begins with a common vision for the entire organization.

In order to achieve customer service excellence, an organization must have a common vision for the customer experience, and that vision must become contagious and permeate the organization … from top to bottom and across all departments.  Only with that kind of firmly embedded common service vision can an organization leverage its customer experience management strategy and become a true customer-centric organization.




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About Dr. John R. Miller

Dr. John R. Miller is an organization development expert with extensive experience in strategic development, performance management, leadership, teambuilding and employee engagement programs. John has worked with Pretium Solutions in connection with many of our engagements including Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Thomson Reuters, Anheuser-Busch, MasterCard and Nestlé Purina.

3 Responses to “How to Create a Customer-Centric Organization”

  1. Pretium Solutions March 14, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Jennifer. Couldn’t agree with you more about transformation requiring an all-hands-on-deck effort (paraphrasing your words, but I think that’s what you’re getting at!). So many companies just haven’t been able to pull it off, but we know it’s possible – Zappos and Amazon do it every day.

    Again, thanks for weighing in!

  2. Jmiller March 14, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Thanks so much for your comment, Jennifer.

  3. Jennifer Kramp March 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    A bold, refreshing post – thanks! I love your “team spirit” approach to customer experience management. If professionals from all levels of the organization are not engaged upfront in projects and initiatives related to customer experience, it will be impossible for a company to win in the end. Just think how the customer experience and loyalty could be transformed if every employee at every company answered your question, “What is my personal touchpoint to the customer experience?”! Thanks again for your motivating info.

    Jennifer Kramp
    TouchpointDashboard.com

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