What Is a Customer Focused Culture?

What Is a Customer Focused Culture?
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A True Customer Focused Culture
There’s a lot of talk lately about focusing on the customer. Certainly, it makes good sense to think from the customer’s point of view if you want to meet and exceed their expectations. And it is easy to see how a customer focused culture could benefit an organization compared to organizations who don’t pay as much attention to what matters most to their customers.

But there is a need to be clear about what a true customer focused culture means.

A true customer focus is far more comprehensive an effort than just musing about the customer experience or surveying a slice of your market. A true customer focused culture actively involves the entire organization, from the ground up, in understanding at each level how to deliver the best customer experience possible — each and every time.

What Customer Focused Leaders Do
Data from our leadership simulation assessment tells us that customer focused leaders understand the customer and bring the customer’s needs to the forefront of business decision making by:

Tackling the Challenge
Businesses that survive tough times have the ability to flex and have leaders who quickly adapt to change according to market shifts and increasing customer demands. They know how to learn, adjust, and innovate for their customers. They are not mired in bureaucratic decision making but are poised to recognize and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

And the speed of change matters. In Accenture’s most recent C-Suite survey, 95% of both B2C and B2B executives say that their customers are changing faster than they can change their businesses.

The key is an aligned workplace culture that explicitly empowers and supports all employees to fully understand the customer and meet their needs. Done right, the entire organization takes on the challenge and focuses on becoming customer intimate.

3 Big Steps to Establish a More Customer Focused Culture
Adopting a customer focused culture is not just the job of Sales, Marketing, and Service. To be customer intimate, the way work gets done across the entire organization must help to build deep and intimate experiences with each customer interaction.

After you have assessed your current corporate culture to know where you stand:

  1. Understand the Why
    As with any successful behavioral change, the first step is to be clear about the business case for change — all the way down to the individual employee level. For someone in Finance, smoother customer interfaces will result in fewer misunderstandings and complaints. For someone in Manufacturing, a better understanding of customer needs will promote better design innovations, etc.
  2. Invest in Better Decision Making
    Yes, decisions should be made within an agreed-upon business framework. But the parameters should emphasize the effect on the customer.

    Decision making should not have to go through an elaborate process but should be encouraged at every level of customer interaction, so employees feel that they have some ownership of delivering the desired customer experience.

    Do your leaders know how to lead, manage, and coach with the customer in mind?
  3. Empower and Reward Employees
    How can each employee contribute to greater customer focus? Give employees the opportunity to share their ideas about improving the customer experience. Give them the chance to play a meaningful role in a more customer focused culture.

    Then reward them clearly and consistently as they succeed and put the customer first.

The Bottom Line
How your organization thinks about customer relationships matters.  If your go-to-market strategy calls for delivering relationship-based customer experiences characterized by long-term relationships, you better invest the time to ensure that your culture is ready to deliver on that promise. 

To learn more about starting the journey to become more customer centric, download How Serious Are You About a Customer Centric Strategy?

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