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11 Steps Towards Customer Centricity

Crystal Garrett
14 Nov, 2017

Customer centricity is more than a buzzword for boardroom discussions or social sites. It requires more than the pop-up Customer Experience divisions with freshly appointed CX Officers who have no clue what it all means.

The customer centricity I'm talking about requires a major mental shift within the entire organization, from C-Suite to maintenance crew, that directly increases profit. 

In this post I will explain why customer centricity is truly important and what are some steps you can take to move towards customer centricity. 

Customer Centricity Can Boost Your ROI. 

A recent Forrester study showed that leading customer centric companies outperform their non-customer centric competitors by 14% in revenue growth. 

Take Umpqua Bank, for example. Ron Davis, President and CEO of Umpqua, goes as far as offering customers classes on investing, movie nights and yoga classes. They even have a community ice cream truck. According to Forbes, Davis’s customer-centric approach has grown the bank from 6 to 200 branches and over $11 billion in assets. 

So, What Exactly is Customer Centricity?

Customer centricity is an overall outside-in business strategy that creates a customer experience oriented machine where the entire organization is collectively working to fulfill customers’ needs and expectations to increase customer loyalty, sales, and profits. It creates a culture where everyone is aware of the direct and indirect impact their work has on customers’ experiences at every point of interaction within their journey.

It’s a Mindset

No one can expect different results doing business the same way. Take a look at the practices of an outdated product mentality versus the customer centric mindset. Examine this chart closely and note where your company falls. 

Graph 3.jpg 

Steps towards Customer Centricity

Customer Experience professionals know how hard it is to get people in the company to buy in on change. Getting everyone on the same page can be a monumental task depending on the size of your company. For the mid-size company, your CEO may be accessible, so I suggest you start at the top and work your way down. However, if you are part of an enterprise and the top is out of reach, start with what's within your grasp and work your way up. Either way, the key is to make your efforts contagious so it spreads throughout the entire organization. 

Here are the steps to get things moving in a customer centric direction: 

1. MAKE IT HUMAN. MAKE IT FUN. Remember throughout that you're changing the mindset for an entire organization and change comes along easier when people enjoy the ride. Don't dictate, inspire!

2. THINK BIG, START SMALL. Change won't happen overnight. Think about what you have the power to change. Begin your mission by establishing what customer centricity means for your department and how your project can eventually reach the entire company.

3. LIVE YOUR MOTTO. Revisit your company's motto. If there isn't one, create it. This is your company's "why".  Be clear about what your motto means for your team as well as your customers. Disneyland's motto, “The Happiest Place on Earth”, is most likely the scope they use when developing new attractions, hiring and training talent, and even checking guest into their hotels. Our motto, "Discover Your Worth," is our North when creating content, developing product innovations, and interacting with customers, to make sure we consistently deliver "worth it" experiences on all fronts. 

4. MAP IT. As a team exercise, map the customer journeys for your customer personas and identify touchpoints. These are moments where you will survey customers for insights. A map identifies stages, actions, and feelings experienced throughout the journey. It provides an overall understanding of customer pain points, efforts, inquiries, concerns, and other valuable insights on the customer experience.

5. FIND A RELEVANT KPI. Survey at the touchpoints you identified using a customer experience KPI that correlates with sales and churn so you can monitor revenue and loyalty. 

 survive the experience economy with the Customer Experience Worth Index

6. IMPLEMENT.  Armed with the freshly gathered insights, meet with departments who are involved at the touchpoints such as, User Experience, Marketing, and Customer Service. Encourage innovative ideas and input to design new customer experiences that make your company worth it to customers.

7. ANALYZE.  Repeat #5 to monitor the new customer perceptions following the changes applied throughout the journey. If you're using a KPI that correlates with sales and churn, you should start seeing ROI from your customer centric efforts.

8. REWARD AND CHAMPION TEAM MEMBERS. Recognition is always a great motivator. Zappos has what's called a WOW Board where employees stats acknowledge who's sent WOW gifts to customers.  Use your internal network, such as Slack or Yammer to give collaborating departments and team members a shout out for keeping a customer in love with your company. Outside of monetary bonuses, other ways to champion are gift cards, honorable mentions, or awards.

9. SHOW PROFIT TO SPONSOR. Documentation speaks louder than conversation. Gather your reports from #7 to show your increased ROI to an influencer at your job, preferably someone who has the CEO's ear. Share your results and prove the value of customer centricity.

10. GO BIG.  Once you have generated positive results on a small scale, you will become the key reference for customer centricity within your company. Now is the time to spread the mindset throughout the entire organization by working with heads of other departments to implement these same steps.

11. STAY ON BRAND. Moving forward, before delivering a new project or wrapping up a meeting, be sure to circle back and verify that the finished product or conclusion is within the scope of your customer centric goals.

After following these steps, you’ll be among the leaders who are differentiating your company from competitors late to adopt new business practices, tools, and techniques to get ahead.

What are some challenges you think you'll be up against while trying to implement this mindset in your organization? Comment below.

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