This is the second in a two-part blog series. If you missed my perspective on 5 Things You Should Not Do in the Name of Customer Experience please check that out here.
This week we are flipping our conversation to discuss five things you absolutely must do to be customer-centric. Let’s get straight to it:
Embrace Customer Centricity as a Way of Being
Before I go too far with this point, I will refer back to a distinction I discussed in a prior blog concerning customer centricity and customer experience. While I positioned customer centricity as strategic and customer experience elevation as tactical in that post, I truly believe that customer centricity goes beyond strategy.
For me customer centricity is a way of thinking, differentiating, and being. At its core, being customer-centric means that any profit made at the expense of a customer is bad profit. Further, customer centricity is a business philosophy that suggests we are in business to create customer value. It is only through that value that all other stakeholders stand to profit.
Prove Your Customer Centricity in Your Customer Experience
In 1710, philosopher George Berkeley posed a metaphysical question that was the forerunner to, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” I will paraphrase that question and pose it in the affirmative. If you proclaim a commitment to be customer-centric and you don’t hear your customers acknowledging that commitment in the way they experience your brand, then you never were customer-centric.
Fulfill, Make It Easy, and Connect
Forrester has shown sustained revenue growth for companies that drive three things in the customer experience:
a.) Customer Need Fulfillment
b.) Reduced Customer Effort
c.) Positive Emotional Connection with Customers
Define Your Desired Connection
Over the years, I’ve developed a tool (Way We Serve Statement) to help my clients define the specific emotional connection or feeling state they want to provide for every customer, every time, everywhere their customers experience the brand. This statement defines the true north connection across every contact opportunity with a customer.
Overcommunicate and Change Manage the Journey
I once had a leader share that he had told staff “at a meeting a couple of years ago” what he wanted his customer experience to be but that his staff members “weren’t making it happen.” Alas, a desired or optimized customer experience is not a top-down telling activity. It is a collaborative, co-created, enterprise-wide pursuit that can’t be microwaved into existence!
The evolution of customer centricity requires the same level of planning (and is fraught with all the same pitfalls) as any other major change or enterprise-wide transformation process. The difference between customer experience and many other change efforts is that customer centricity and customer experience elevation cut across all elements of an organization.
When you read this blog in conjunction with the first blog in this two-part series, I realize customer-centric transformation can sound easy. That is the downside of do’s and don’ts lists. In truth, this undertaking is one of most complex, everchanging, and worthwhile adventures a leader can engage.
Fortunately, no leader has to go this daunting journey alone! There are ample resources available to help you steward success.
In fact, I am ready to schedule a time to talk about the opportunities that are in front of you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli