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How to get your execs and staff to embrace customer-centric cultures

29 Aug 2016

Customer-centric cultures are the key to competitive advantage, revenue and great experiences, that's what Qualtrics has found. The company believes that the customer experience (CX) is about buy-in, ambassador drive, employee engagement and customer feedback.

Qualtrics managing director Bill McMurray states that "Organisations need to have a customer-first strategy across the entire business. That’s the only way to develop ongoing positive experiences for customers.” 

Executive buy-in is one of the key ingredients in getting any CX programme off the ground. Leadership encourages employees, who then connect directly with customers.

“Culture starts at the top. Regular CX reviews with senior leaders to discuss issues, assess their impact on customers and the business, and evaluate the viability of potential solutions, can help to ensure sustained support," McMurray comments.

The buy-in is not limited to leaders, but also marketers too, he believes.

“Marketers play a big role to help senior leadership develop a customer-centric vision. They should survey the organisation’s current state, which means how central the customer is to strategy and daily operations. From there they can make a case to executives as to how new customer-focussed initiatives should be implemented to help drive an increase in revenue," he says.

Customer experience ambassadors are the next key ingredient in driving customer-centric cultures, as they can help leaders promote CX programmes in their own teams and also promote the overall culture.

“Employees can’t transition to a new organisational culture if they are unsure of the vision, and what is expected of them. A transformation team of CX ambassadors can guide employees to better understand why customer-centricity is central to the success of the business, how they can contribute, and what tools and resources are available to help them," McMurray says.

Employees are on the front line, and Qualtrics believes they must stay motivated and engaged. Rewards for meeting goals and being part of CX programmes are one method of encouragement. This can be supplemented by training programmes and making sure that new employees understand the customer-centric mindset.

“Organisations can develop programmes that make the focus on customer experience fun and rewarding for employees. For example, providing rewards for new ideas or facilitating excellent experiences and sharing these with the team will help to keep staff engaged and wanting to do more," McMurray says.

Finally, no CX programme is complete without feedback from customers themselves, so feedback is essential. Organisations should strive to meet customer experience benchmarks and analyse areas for improvement if they fall short. “Customer-centricity is an ongoing process. Organisations looking to become truly customer-centric must listen to feedback from their customers and act on it. For example, by using an easy-to-use, yet sophisticated platform, like Qualtrics, organisations can gather real-time snapshots of their customers’ experiences and determine where they can make operational and strategic improvements. By gathering this kind of feedback, businesses will be able to continuously improve to offer better experiences for their customers," McMurray concludes.

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