6 ways to foster a customer-centric culture in your company

Key takeaways:

  • Foster a customer-centric culture through mindset over financial investment.
  • Lead by example from top management to establish a customer-first approach.
  • Promote transparency to empower employees and address root causes of problems.
  • Utilize customer journey maps to visualize interactions and track improvements.
  • Reward employees embracing the customer-centric approach to set a standard for all.

Being “customer-centric” is a proud member of the latest set of corporate buzzwords. But as it often is the case in this space, they’re only that: buzzwords. They fill the sentences to make them (or rather their authors) look distinguished, but their real meaning only seldom gets applied to the company’s real-world operations.

It’s a shame because being customer-centric doesn’t even require a financial investment, so the often-cited reason why something cannot be done (there’s no money) doesn’t apply. The deciding factor here is the mindset and determination. You have to be able to put yourself into the shoes of your customers, study every interaction they have with your company, and note both the problematic ones and those that are not necessarily problematic, but can be improved.

Maybe you already have a partial list somewhere in your emails or customer support agents’ water-cooler conversations – it’s very likely your customers are letting you know themselves when something doesn’t work as they expect. To put it simply, it would be very difficult to find a company where employees are not aware of insufficiencies in their operations.

The key is to make every customer interaction as smooth as possible – eliminating obvious and big problems is a no-brainer, but you should go even beyond that and try to anticipate minor problems at each customer touchpoint, too and either proactively prepare a quick fix or put into place a process that will prevent them.

And now a few tips:

1. Lead by example

When you read about companies famous for their customer-first approach, it was never an initiative of their “regular” employees. This approach was always established and pushed by the founder, CEO, or another high-level executive. That’s why the company’s management must lead by example – if they won’t be customer-centric, nobody will. Culture of any sort is set by the bosses – that’s how it’s always been.

2. Be transparent

For employees to make customer-centric culture their own, they need to see what’s behind the curtains. Without this, they just won’t know what exactly is the root of any given problem and what are the possibilities of solving it. They will not tirelessly beg you for every piece of information they need: if they see five information roadblocks in everything they want to improve, they will simply leave the initiative. If you don’t care enough to provide them with all the necessary information, it’s illogical to expect they will fight for it.

3. Check what others are doing

You know the saying about not reinventing the wheel. There are many great customer-centric companies and it’s not difficult to see what and how they are doing it. Feel free to copy whatever you can – there’s nothing wrong with seeing others treating their customers well and trying to do the same. Not all practices will apply to your specific industry, but some of them are universal and are relevant everywhere.

4. Create a customer journey map

The best way to keep track of the customer interactions (touchpoints) is to put them in a customer journey map. You will have all instances of your customer interaction in one place and you can always start your brainstorming by looking at the CJM. Many of the improvements you come up with will have to prove themselves – maybe you’ll even come up with 2 solutions for a single problem and test them simultaneously. Having a few of these, you’ll quickly realize you need a way to note and monitor them.

5. Reward employees

If you want to make sure your employees shift to the customer-centric approach, reward those who got the message and already started. You have to create an understanding that being customer-centric is not a voluntary activity for enthusiastic workers, but a standard that will be required from everyone. There are not many worse things for an employee than to see that his or her efforts are appreciated, but not rewarded and there’s basically no difference between them and those who don’t try at all.

6. Customer is not a burden

There’s one more mindset shift that might need to happen: not seeing the customer as a burden. The logical way of dealing with a burden of any kind is to get rid of it as fast as possible. If you treat your customers this way, you may succeed at getting rid of them faster, but not at solving their problem and providing them the service they expect.

Do you want to create an interactive and easy-to-use customer journey map with powerful touchpoints, personas, automatic KPI import & monitoring, and much more?

Related articles

6 little-known advantages of creating a customer journey map

Key takeaways: CJMs provide CEOs with insight into marketing activities and KPIs for strategic evaluation. Improved collaboration between departments is facilitated by sharing CJMs, reducing communication...

5 causes of disorganized marketing (and how to cure them)

Key takeaways: Marketing environments have become fast-paced and prone to rapid changes, leading to disorganization. Customer journey mapping can bring organization by assigning responsibilities clearly and...

How to make sure every customer touchpoint is taken care of?

Key takeaways: Marketing operations involve numerous complex touchpoints that can lead to issues if overlooked. Forgotten touchpoints may result in revenue loss, unanswered complaints, and outdated...

How to empower your ambitious and proactive marketers?

Key takeaways: Employees are valuable assets, but accessing relevant marketing information can be challenging. Complex marketing operations in larger companies make it difficult for marketers to...