BUILDING A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC CULTURE
Lynn Hunsaker, head of ClearAction customer experience consulting, offers her advice for
developing and enhancing customer-centricty.
the necessity of making it easier and nicer for intrinsic rewards have proven to be more pow-
customers to get and use solutions. Consistency erful in adjusting a group’s ways of thinking
occurs in formal and informal meetings, writ- and doing. Risk tolerance and penalties also
ten correspondence, external messages, and in determine the degree to which customer-cen-
every business process and management ritual tricity takes root. Above all, monitor cause-
such as performance reviews, annual operating and-effect and also perceptions of fairness in
plans, performance dashboards, etc. Consisten- terms of logic and equity; these elements are
cy builds trust and passion, which are necessary pivotal to success.
ingredients for true customer-centricity. At Enterprise Rent-a-Car, customer senti-
At Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos once ment is measured at the rental office level. Only
began a meeting by announcing that an empty employees in offices that score at or above the
chair at the table represented the customer. overall company average are eligible for promo-
Throughout the meeting, the executives were tion, raises or bonuses. At EMC, achieving the
compelled to include the customer in the dis- target for their leading indicator of customer
cussion, as if present. This became a habit – the sentiment, system availability, is a go/no-go de-
Lynn Hunsaker says: It’s popular to tout group’s way of thinking and doing. terminant of the bonus for the entire company.
customer-centricity, yet it’s very difficult to
consistently demonstrate. The word centric Skills Systems
means having a specific thing as the focus Customer-centric values and vision must be Systems-thinking means acknowledging the
of attention and efforts. Customer-centric supported by proficiency in related technical big picture and linkages between its com-
means that concerns other than the custom- and soft skills. Examine competency require- ponents. Scrutinize your business policies,
er’s wellbeing are in the background while the ments for everyone – not just procedures and tools for their
customer stays in the foreground. customer-facing roles – rel- contribution or detraction
That may seem simple enough, yet reality ative to your customer-cen- from the goal of making it
proves the elusiveness of customer-centricity. tric values and vision. Th is easier and nicer for customers
In Accenture’s Delivering the Promise study, 75 includes channel partners, to get and use solutions.
percent of executives viewed their customer ser- suppliers and other external At Dell, SVP of customer
vice as above-average, while 59 percent of their entities. Proficiency is the service, Dick Hunter, asked
customers reported their experience with these vital link between strategy employees to send him notes
companies’ service as somewhat to extremely and execution. about the inconsistent and
dissatisfying. Likewise, in CMO Council’s Cus- At Nordstrom, em- dumb things the company was
tomer Affinity study, half the companies said ployees are selected on their doing. Combining this input
they are extremely customer-centric, but only a capabilities to anticipate with customer’s verbatim
tenth of their customers agreed. and meet people’s needs. comments to their call center
Lynn Hunsaker, head of ClearAction
The building blocks of customer-centric They’re encouraged to try customer experience consulting, led to significant changes in
culture are communication, skills, account- new approaches to selling specializes in customer-centric the customer experience.
culture-building, customer data ROI
ability and systems. and customer service, with and cross-organizational engagement Motives are at the heart
to deliver brand promises.
the mantra ‘use good judg- of true or false customer-
Communication ment in all situations’ giving centricity. Customer-centric-
The vision and values that top management them a tremendous sense that they’re trusted to ity as priority number one must permeate the
communicates, both verbally and behaviorally, always do right by the customer. entire business, and be un-challenged by other
set the tone and direction. What top manage- concerns as the organization’s primary focus
ment focuses on guides the thinking and efforts Accountability of attention and efforts. All other goals are
of the entire organization. The key is consistency: What gets rewarded gets done – whether the more likely to fall into place with consistent
at every opportunity, continually communicate rewards are tangible or intrinsic. Interestingly, customer-centricity.
ClearAction.indd 52 29/10/09 10:28:32
Apr. 9, 2013
See http://ClearActionCX.com Contact us at OptimizeCX@ClearActionCX.com