Customer Obsession: Creating a Customer First Culture

“Customer Centricity Is an Approach to Doing Business That Focuses on Providing a Positive Customer Experience in Order to Drive Profit and Gain Competitive Advantage.” – Leslie Cottenje, Hello Customer”

The idea of customer-centric organizations isn’t new or novel; however, for the number of organizations talking about putting the customer first, only a handful have truly created a customer-centric organization. Sure, parts of your organization may be focused on the needs of the customer, but unless your entire business rallies around the customer experience, you’ll be hard pressed to convince many that you’re organization is customer obsessed.

Why Is a Customer First Culture Important?

Great question! Putting the customer first leads to increased customer satisfaction, which leads to more loyal customers, which leads to higher profitability. Let’s take a look at a few stats to bolster this idea:

  1. Loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase.
  2. It’s 6-7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one.
  3. 3 out of 5 (59%) Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.
  4. 62% of global consumers have stopped doing business with a brand or organization due to a poor customer experience.
  5. The probability of selling to an existing, happy customer is up to 14x higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.

You might be reading this and thinking, “well that’s all well and good, but we already employ lifecycle marketing to ensure a solid customer experience.” If that’s the case, that’s excellent news; however, customer centricity cannot just be the job of one department, it needs to be part of your companies ethos. Every question needs to be: how does this decision impact the customer? For more on customer-centric marketing, check out this article.

Creating a Customer First Culture

Organizational Buy-In

As I touched on above, the first step in creating a customer first culture is getting buy-in at every level of the organization. One way to do this is to find ways to create empathy—help your employees understand the trials and tribulations that your product helps solve and even the frustrations they may run into while using your product.

Real World Example: One of the industries where empathy is an extremely desired trait is healthcare. Specifically, many senior living facilities are deploying a new virtual reality technology to help nurses in these care facilities understand what having dementia feels like, allowing care specialists to create programs that fit the actual needs of their patients rather than the perceived needs.

This is a great example of how an organization can use technology and training to create a customer first culture. Creating training guides, practicums where your employees have to use your software as your customers would to understand where the pitfalls might be, and even persona creation based on individual accounts are great ways to start imbuing a customer first culture in your organization.

Do the Research and Use Data

This probably goes without saying, but data is your friend. As you work to create a customer first culture you’ll need to understand who your customers are. Note: this is different than who you think your customers are. It’s important that you create a cross-functional team to dig-in and do the research. Figure out what makes your customers tick—why do your best customers remain loyal to you? Why do certain types of customers churn? Why do they come to you in the first place? What data do you have to back all of this up? What personas can you create to encapsulate your customer base?

Share Your Findings

Generally, marketing, customer support, and sales have a pretty good idea of who their customers are; however, more often than not that precious information stays siloed in these departments. Make sure that you’re creating an open forum for customer insights to be shared, talked about, and considered by anyone within the organization. Take a look at your current organizational structure and communication pathways—do you have feedback loops that allow product, engineering, accounting, legal, etc. to hear about the customer?

Continuously Update

I’d love to say that once you’ve created your personas, created training pathways, and worked toward a more empathetic employee base, your work is done; however, just like any other part of the business, this is an iterative process. Make sure you’re setting aside time to update your personas, trainings, and organizationals processes to match them with changes in your organization and customer base. And, as always, find ways to effectively communicate these changes out to your employees.

Customer Obsession: The Thing Every Company Needs

Without customers you won’t have a business. Without loyal customers, you won’t have a thriving business. Creating a culture of customer obsession will help you create a healthy, thriving business that directly impacts profitability. Taking the time to understand your customers will not only help you create a better experience for your customers, it will create a unifying thread throughout your organization.

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