Creating a Customer-Centric Organization

Aug 16 07:24 2010 Monica Nolan Print This Article

Customer-centric companies enjoy higher sales and more engaged customers. This article explains how to make your company more customer-centric.

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Is your organization customer-focused?  As the economy regains strength, consumers will feel comfortable spending more. By fortifying your customer engagement approach now, you can position your organization to take full advantage of the eventual upturn. Fostering customer engagement is the most effective way to recover lost customers and acquire new ones. This is because fully engaged customers recruit new customers for you, simply by being enthusiastically satisfied with your service. If you can successfully create a customer-centric organization, you can successfully generate fully engaged customers (as well as higher profits).

There are two key variables in engineering a customer-centric organization: customer engagement and employee engagement. Through Customer Engagement Management (CEM), you can take practical steps to increase customer engagement. Although nearly any organization can improve customer engagement through CEM, we have found that customer engagement scores improve even further when organizations also use Employee Engagement Management (EEM). EEM practices create a healthy organizational culture in the workplace, so that your employees feel passionate about their work. Although some immediate actions can be taken to improve employee engagement, EEM will likely involve a longer process of internal change and growth. 

Customer Engagement

Generally, an engaged customer is one who actively supports a service or product. Customer engagement is more than just brand loyalty where customers are simply making exclusive purchases; instead, engaged customers are supporting the company and telling others about products and services. In short, the key to a successful business is engaged customers -- people who enthusiastically endorse what you do.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to recognize how their own procedures create apathetic customers. For instance, many organizations suffer from a lack of consistency regarding customer contact. Not do they use multiple forms of media to communicate with their customers, they use multiple departments and personnel, too.  Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than having three different encounters with three different employees in three different ways over a single issue.  It's easy to see how customers are willing to switch brands when faced with such poor customer service.

A customer-centric organization wouldn't expect its customers to navigate such complex communication structures. Customer-centric companies focus on the customer throughout everything they do.  A CEM solution for such a problem would begin with talking to customers to find out how they feel, ideally through statistically consistent and reliable market research.  As you design your questionnaire, identify every area in which your company may potentially come into contact with a customer. Next, identify which of these areas stand to impact customer engagement the most. Whichever area will specifically increase customer loyalty, referrals, and engagement should be given the most attention and resources. View your product or service as a real customer would.  Don't generalize or stereotype; instead, recruit actual customer to help you accurately visualize your product. By doing this, you'll remove the focus from "the company" and put it on the customer--exactly where it needs to be.

Employee Engagement

Whether they realize it or not, customers make most of their decisions based on their emotions--how they're feeling at a given point in time--which is why employee engagement is a crucial ingredient in creating a customer-centric culture. If employees are engaged, their interactions with customers will be genuine, not coerced or forced. Customers recognize and are pleased with such sincere service.  As such, one of the major factors in breeding customer engagement is employee engagement. 

The first step to engaging employees is realizing that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every organization. Since every company's organizational culture is different, every company's employee engagement solution should look different as well. Your employees are unique, so your EEM solution should begin with asking staff how you can help them feel engaged and then incorporating a management solution that allows managers to take action to meet those needs.

By working to establish a customer-centric culture, over time, you'll find an increase in the number of engaged employees. Consequently, with an increase in employee engagement, you're likely to experience an increase in customer engagement. And with that, you'll, no doubt, enjoy success.

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About Article Author

Monica Nolan
Monica Nolan

Monica Nolan is an Account Manager for PeopleMetrics. Companies interested in developing stronger customer experience management programs are encouraged to contact PeopleMetrics, an engagement solutions provider for some of the world's most respected companies. Through the annually published Most Engaged Customers report, PeopleMetrics has proven a link between customer engagement and employee engagement. Contact PeopleMetrics or visit http://www.peoplemetrics.com to discuss measuring customer satisfaction for your business sector using CEM.

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