If You Don’t Have a ‘Customer-Obsessed’ Culture, You’re Losing
Would you call your company “customer obsessed”? It might sound extreme, but that’s the level of dedication retailers need to succeed in the current customer landscape. Consumers have more choice now than ever before, and they’re not hesitant to exercise it. A single negative experience will drive one in three customers straight into your competitor’s arms, according to PwC.
How customer obsession becomes customer successWe needn’t look any further than Amazon to understand how a customer experience culture leads to overall business success. “Customer obsession” is Amazon’s No. 1 leadership principle:
“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”It’s this core value that has enabled Amazon to balloon from an online book retailer to a global “everything” retailer with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion. When “customer obsession” is a top leadership principle, it becomes the anchor in every department, process, and decision. It is not a tactic to simply increase sales. It’s a fundamental characteristic of the organizational culture.
How to build a customer experience cultureCreating a customer experience culture requires a team effort from HR leaders and company executives. Together they must define which cultural traits will enable them to become customer-centric, inside and out. Here are seven steps to get you started.
1. Define the customer experience you want to provide.In general, customers desire a few key things from the companies with whom they do business, according to PwC: speed, convenience, friendliness, and knowledge. A positive customer experience fulfills these demands. But it’s important to understand not only how to satisfy your customers, but how to wow them. Do you know what kind of experience will keep them coming back? When you set out to create a customer experience culture, the first step is to define what the ideal customer experience looks like. The questions you need to ask are:
- Who are my customers?
- What do they want when they come to our website or store?
- What does an ideal customer experience look like to them?
2. Embed your customer experience expectations into your company philosophy.Once you define what the ideal customer experience looks like, the next step is to articulate this vision within the company philosophy. There should be a clear link between the philosophy and every organizational decision. This includes setting standards and expectations for staff, what skills and traits to look for in new hires, and employee training and development. If you can’t use the company philosophy to justify a change, then the proposed change won’t support a customer-centric culture.
3. Make your company values customer-oriented and actionable.Company values are the underpinning to your organizational culture. But it will be difficult for your employees to actualize them if they are too complex or abstract. Organizational values should embody a few key traits:
- Customer-oriented — Do they support the ideal customer experience you’ve defined?
- Actionable on a daily basis — Is it clear to employees how to demonstrate them in their daily work?
- Relevant — Do your managers know how to discuss them with employees?