Real customer centricity is completely transformative because it changes how your entire business makes decisions. In this article we explain why this is the case. It’s far more than training people; it’s about real action, in every role.

Time to read: 2 minutes

Everyone is proud to be customer oriented. Not everyone does it well.

Customer Experience is the phrase of the day. Every company is proud to be customer-centric, customer-focused, or customer-oriented in some way.

If you search the internet, you will find them. Here are a few examples of great mission statements, from the USA:

  • Zappos: ‘Deliver WOW through service’.
  • Disney: ‘We create happiness’.
  • Southwest Airlines: ‘… dedicated to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.’

But putting it in your mission is easy. It’s easy to talk about it among ourselves, and to imagine that, by training people to repeat them, we are creating a customer centric company.

It’s a lot harder to weave it into your culture.

Haigh’s Chocolates is an example of customer-centricity done well

One of our clients, Haigh’s Chocolates, does it exceptionally well. This business has customer centricity central to its vision, and embedded in the story of each value.

The Haigh’s vision is:

Delivering a world class chocolate experience every time.

The company’s values go on to explain how this will happen.

We will be caring and considerate of our employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, the community and environment through collaboration, clarity, respect, responsibility, recognition, passion, and pride.

Each one of those separate values is explained through its person-to-person position. It’s unsurprising that both customers and employees are incredibly loyal to the company.

One key mistake companies make

In not-truly-customer-centric companies, people mistake training for action. It is trained downwards from the senior executive. But sometimes (to the team) it can appear that it doesn’t apply back the other way.

People mistake customer service training for customer-centric company behaviour. Click To Tweet

The truth is, a customer centric culture makes customer service part of everyone’s job.

What does a truly customer-centred organisation do?

Customer-centred organisations give every role a customer-oriented position.

These companies expect that everyone really does make customer service a key element of all decisions they make. They have cultures in which every decision includes these questions: ‘How does this affect our customers? What answer would we come to if we were making a decision in the customers’ best interests?’

If you’re not there yet, how can you get started?

  1. Decide to be committed to your customer.
  2. Understand why you’re doing it.

Customer centricity takes absolute commitment

Reorienting your company to think this way is no mean feat. It requires commitment at the highest level of leadership, and reinforcement throughout the fabric of the organisation.

Truly customer-centric companies make the customer part of every decision. Click To Tweet

This means that even your team development must be reoriented.

Customer centricity means coming back to your customer in everything.

Use the existing strengths of your team as part of your move to a new style of working. See where your team’s existing strengths can be leveraged in the process.

Research reveals that people who use their strengths every day are 3 times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, 6 times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.

On the other side of that? They’re more likely to treat your customers well.

A cohesive team helps the customer centricity of your organisation. Exhibiting customer-centric behaviours becomes part of the team’s pride.

What does it mean to make customer-centric decisions?

Being able to make customer-centric decisions means you:

  • Have team members who understand why being customer centric is critical to the company’s over-arching goals
  • Are able to stand in your customers’ shoes, no matter what.

Thinking from the customers’ perspectives is hard to do. It’s why some large organisations have customer panels, which gives the business regular access to their customers’ perspectives, without having to guess.

You want your customers to think, feel, and do things differently

In becoming a customer-centric organisation, you want your customers to think differently, to feel differently, and to do things differently from what they were doing before. That’s how you are going to achieve your mission, and how you can start measuring your success.

You want customers to think, feel, and do things differently. Click To Tweet

At Training x Design we work with senior leadership to create and reinforce lasting, customer-centric cultures. Sometimes the shift is only small; sometimes it’s a total reorientation. Contact us to find out how we can help you.


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