Becoming customer-led is what all brands should strive for — learn why it’s important to let your customers drive your business and how to build a winning CX culture.
From the front lines to the boardroom, there’s little doubt that delivering connected, memorable experiences is critical to long-term success for your business.
Studies indicate that companies listening to their customers across signals and acting on feedback at scale and in real time deliver higher profitability and revenue growth relative to those that do not. Medallia Institute research found that customer experience leaders are 26 times more likely than laggards to experience revenue growth of 20% or more. Any business leader would welcome higher profitability and revenue growth with open arms.
No, it’s not “easy” per se. But adapting to meet consumer expectations that have changed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is far from impossible. You just need to be customer-led. Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and it’s time to start operating like it.
Leading organizations are investing in technologies to capture signals throughout the customer journey — allowing CX leaders to analyze data in the moment using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (AI). As a result, democratized insights across a business are empowering employees to realize their involvement in the customer journey and take action.
Defining and delivering on the right culture accelerates your company’s growth. It’s no wonder Peter Drucker famously (and accurately) said that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Any company can talk about how CX cultures create value for the business and its customers, but it’s another thing to actually deliver with quantifiable results.
Comcast, one of the largest companies in the world with more than 90,000 employees and nearly 30 million customers, earned a reputation for the less-than-ideal experiences it was providing to cable customers. What did it decide to do? Comcast adopted a Net Promoter System to understand sentiment among both customers and employees.
Taking a customer-led approach, this brand drove fundamental transformation throughout the entire business. Comcast started integrating feedback with other operational data to provide real-time reporting and distribute insights in personalized, role-based dashboards. As a result, teams and individuals could take unique action to improve CX. Comcast saw a significant improvement in customer NPS, and calls to its contact center decreased by millions; therefore, not only did Comcast make customers happier, but it also reduced costs.
Customer feedback needs to be delivered to frontline employees on a daily basis, and Comcast also began collecting employee feedback and ideas regularly. Why? Because engagement starts with employees. When your employees are engaged, they’re motivated to do their best while serving customers.
With a customer-led strategy, Comcast improved digital response times by an astounding 95% while also reducing agent turnover by 50%.
Technology enables action, but your culture is where everything comes together strategically — embed a customer-led mindset into your culture for a sustainable impact.
Here’s what organizations need to focus on in order to become customer-led.
Track common CX metrics including customer satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score® (NPS), and customer effort score (CES). Like most companies, you’re unlikely to be starting from the customer outcome you want to achieve. Work through the customer journey and find solutions along the way that improve outcomes.
If you’re an online retailer seeking to improve the shopping experience, think about what makes it more seamless for a shopper to browse inventory, find product information, and complete a purchase. Or, as a hospitality brand, examine what guests like and dislike to encourage repeat stays as the preferred outcome.
Getting teams to collaborate and partner together, cross-functionally, to drive these outcomes must be balanced with a human-centered approach. To do this, teams and individuals need access to insights. It helps them prioritize their efforts and ensure that what they’re building solves the potential problems customers might face going through the journey that produces the outcome.
Agile has been around for over 20 years now, with the “agile manifesto” first written in 2001. Since then, the agile approach to how teams work has been adopted by many companies. An agile culture is foundational to a customer-led culture — teams are defined by rapid and continuous learning to iterate solutions quickly and often with experimentation. These teams are also diverse and inclusive, and operate with these values at their core.
Winning CX cultures identify a single C-suite executive to set the vision, mission, and strategy for customer experience. Some have the title of Chief Customer Officer or Chief Experience Officer. But no matter the title, this individual works collaboratively across the C-suite to bring everyone together under a shared understanding of the customer and what the company needs to do to close the gap between customer expectations and the experience to deliver.
This leader and their team help everyone in the company see why they’re accountable to the customer, and they have the tools, data, and insights to make the connection between what they do and their impact on the customer.
Companies with future-oriented cultures are defined by resilience and flexibility. While productivity and efficiency are valued, the greater focus is on efficacy — ensuring teams are working on the right things. Open-source collaboration and taking smart risks are also integral.
As the name suggests, a future-oriented element requires that every member of the organization favor long-term success over short-term gains. Some companies call this “purpose over profit.” Whatever language is used to describe the company, the human-centered approach takes evolving consumer trends/needs, demographics, psychographics, and socioeconomic changes into account to design solutions for customer needs that drive business outcomes.
Creating a winning CX culture is a challenge, but it’s one that you’re ready to conquer. All you need is process and commitment. Over time, you’ll achieve goals that prove your success and encourage all stakeholders to continue executing on the customer experience program together.
Here’s how to build a winning CX culture:
1. Clarify meaning: Highlight attributes to be emphasized in the new organization; underscore characteristics of the new culture; articulate what will not change (e.g., what already makes the organization unique)
2. Leadership development: Develop clear ownership around the change process
3. Craft metrics, measures, and milestones: What are the criteria for success? How often will they be measured and by whom? Often, cultures are defined by what you reward.
4. Determine strategic initiatives: Design development and training programs; create new compensation structures and remind individuals their growth is valued as much as their performance.
5. Identify stories: Develop real-life scenarios that are tangible for employees; develop a theme or identify the best way to illustrate the dynamics of the new culture
6. Celebrate small wins: What is easy to change? Find small wins, change them and communicate the successes; drive this change before tackling the larger issues
7. Communicate visually: Regularly communicate progress, successes and change through visualization
Winning CX cultures deliver significant business outcomes by taking an agile, future-oriented approach to their work with clear lines of ownership and accountability to the customer. Cultures can be created and enhanced through intentional steps under a clear vision that all employees — including beyond the customer experience team — in the company can connect to. Having the right leadership and strategy in place prepares your business to engage employees and delight customers.