Saturday, September 19, 2015

How to Build a People-Centric Culture

When customer-centricity embedded in the culture, CX is not just the sequence of events, but the seamless continuum.

Digital is the age of customers. Building customer-centricity consistently in a way that delivers the right experiences to the right customers at the right times is, in most companies, enormously complicated. Changing the culture and breaking down silos is one of the biggest challenges. How to build a customer-centric culture and improve organizational maturity?

CX needs to be part of the culture and needs to be sponsored by the C-Suite: As CX is so much about how an organization behaves, and not just what it delivers, the culture is key. Building a platform to communicate and engage all staff and channels with the vision is essential, and this vision must be joined up with other major change programs so that staff can see how it all fits together. With customer-centricity is well embedded into the corporate culture, CX needs to be delivered by the business, not a silo. There must be continuity and everyone must own it.

Culture is part passion, part commitment, and part faith. It's the passion and excitement about what we're doing and how we're doing it. It's the synergy with the team, the managers, and business leaders. The commitment is that we are all in this together and have our passions focused on a goal. We all succeed together or fail together. It's committing to each other to help, teach, and share. Culture becomes the way we do business. It is our brand promise. If we promise our customers, we will be easy to do business with, and then internally we must become that to each other -- easy to work with and work for. Tools evolve into place at this point. If we promise our customers that we will be responsive, then our culture in the company needs to reflect that as well. If we promise our customers we will listen and take action, then internally we must act this way as well, and so on.

Culture is a multi-pronged challenge and benefit. How your approach is building it or changing it depends on several variables and dynamics. Culture has to be thought through for organizations that are larger and growing. The leadership needs to think about the values they want their employees to have and be sure that not only the experience is good for the customers, but also good for employees. Guidelines like “onboarding,” mentors, and regular interactions with senior folks keep the "culture" of innovation and customer-centricity alive. You need to hire, train, and reinforce what you desire. It doesn’t happen organically without some vision and plan. Many businesses try to change "culture," become more "customer-centric" without building a solid foundation to empower people and the business to provide great customer experiences. CX is about culture, and culture is not about people - It IS people.

Being customer-centric needs to be driven by a culture within the company starting at the Board level. You need to believe that, the customer is the lifeline of the business. Once you have this basic premise right, everything flows naturally, exceptional customer service and WOW moments will be the automatic result, and then Customer Experience is not just the sequence of event, but the seamless continuum.


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