Guest Post by: Paul Aas, Loyalty Group
How does a company practice powerful and compelling brand cultures that breed loyalty, performance, differentiation and sustainability
Culture brings people together and allows them in collaboration to manage the challenges of business, and puts the right Customer Strategy into practice.
"Culture eats strategies for lunch," Peter Drucker once said - and he's probably right! The culture is essential because it defines what the employees do when no one is looking. The key is how the employees think, believe and act.
Customer Experience and Centricity is a future-proof strategy; however, you cannot win with a culture that does not truly embrace the concept. You win by moving employees from loyalty to themselves, their own progress/metrics, and their own micro-groups/silos, to a position where they're loyal to the business and the customer.
The Importance of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the functional and emotional connection that employees have with an organization. It is key to succeed in the process of changing an organization's culture to become Customer Centric.
Engagement and culture are two different elements, but they affect each other. Engaged employees impact culture, and a strong culture can lead to engaged employees. Alternatively, disengaged employees can suffocate culture, and caustic cultures can "chase away" engaged employees.
By increasing the employee's engagement, you will move them from an "I" point of view to a "We" point of view focusing on the organization as a whole, and how they treat their customers. Remember that engaged employees are putting the company first and are willing to "go the extra mile" for the customers.
A focused and high performing dedicated culture leads to better Customer Experiences. However, mobilizing a culture to become Customer Centric often requires change - and that is a major challenge for all organizations.
The Successful Culture of Customer Centric Organizations
The big challenge is creating a culture that encourages employees to act consistently with your organization's Customer Centric objectives and goals. Research has identified 4 core competences that have to be present in order to be a successful Customer Centric company:
Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
· Develop a clear mission
· Manage people with purpose
· Always start with why
· Don't fake it
Leadership is essential. Realize that changing and improving the culture takes commitment and time.
Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization.
Demonstrate that you value your employees. Show to them that their opinions matter and give them opportunity to grow.
Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers.
· Make promises
· Embrace promises
· Keep promises
Progression is key to a beneficial culture and Customer Experience Management. So don't forget it when you're taking action.
Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization.
· Focus on target segments
· Identify key moments
· Continuously listen and act
· Apply good design
Sort out how you solve problems. Your culture always helps or hinders problem solving. Problem solving is one of the first signs determining how Customer Focused your culture really is.
Some of the most successful Customer Centric companies follow what has been called the "3L" recipe: They're Listening, Learning and Living.
Listen: Any business that wants to start building a Customer Centric culture must start to open up its ears. It must listen to what its customers are saying, but also to what its employees are saying.
Learn: Learning is something we start to do the minute we are born. Learning is what a brand new organization does in the early days of its existence. Continuously learning is something that should be in the fabric of any Customer Centric business.
Live: Yes live. For any business to be Customer Centric, it must live and breathe its Customer Experience. It must walk in its customer shoes on a daily basis; experience what they are experiencing and feeling the joy or pain before they do.
The organizational culture describes the Corporate Attitude and sum up "everything" that a customer perceives. Customers of highly Customer Centric organizations describe their experiences like "they're putting people before profits", "they hire staff for attitude", "always paying attention to details", "empowering staff" and "listening to and understanding customers". Therefore, making sure that your company establishes a culture that breeds great Customer Experiences, is essentially a very lucrative business.
So, good luck on your way to build a Customer Centric culture in your organization. - You will need it!