The difference a customer-centric culture makes
Customer centricity gives an organisation opportunity to differentiate itself and uniquely shape the experience that customers receive.
At the moment, we’re full of good intentions.
According to our latest HR Reflections research, 84% of UK organisations say customer centricity is an important area of focus for them currently, however, many struggle to embed a customer-centric culture – only 35% consistently hire and screen for customer-centric attitudes and behaviours, and 33% consistently recognise and reward customer-centric behaviour.
If organisational culture is defined by the way organisations do things, then a customer-centric culture is about doing things with the customer front of mind.
This involves every part of the organisation – whether their roles are customer-facing or not – thinking about how their work contributes to the experience of the end user. In terms of hierarchy, it’s about turning the traditional model upside down.
Online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos is a great example of a company that values the attitude over aptitude approach. It has an employee culture that is focused on customer service and employee happiness: “When we hire people we do two sets of interviews. The hiring manager and his or her team will do the standard fit within the team, relevant experience, technical ability and so on. But then our HR department does a second set of interviews purely for cultural fit… We’ve formalised the definition of our culture into ten core values. Basically what we’re looking for are people whose personal values match our corporate values. They’re just naturally living the brand. Wherever they are whether they’re in the office or off the clock.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO.
To be customer-centric the customer truly has to be placed at the centre of everything the organisation does, and everyone in the business needs to buy in.
Even in the public sector or in an organisation which operates in a monopoly, it’s hard to think of an industry or company that doesn’t at least say they put the customer first. In a near saturated market where technology has levelled the playing field and social media has heightened expectations, a point of difference is hard to achieve unless organisations get personal. No organisation will ever be the best that it can be without customer centricity.