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Creating a Customer-Centric Culture: A Model Employee Handbook

Published February 2, 2015

Do you want to be the kind of company that customers love? The truth is, for many companies the answer is “no.” If you work for one of these companies (you know if you do…) then stop reading now. Or, read on and look for a new job. Because the kinds of companies that customers love are quite often the companies that employees love, too.

mcorpcx-blog_020215_nordstromJust look at the success of companies like Amazon, Zappos and Tesla. Because a customer-centric culture most often manifests in great customer experience.

But delivering on this requires a company-wide focus on customers, and doing the right thing by them. Unfortunately, many established organizations suffer from some combination of disconnected internal silos, data that’s locked in them, lack of customer data-gathering tools or insights, and reward structures that prioritize generating revenue over meeting the needs of customers.

To make the change required to improve customer experience, some companies need a “customer-centric culture shift” – a shift that puts the customer at the center of most decisions, discussions, and policies. No matter how well-intentioned, this shift – from product- and sales- to customer-focused – isn’t usually an easy one. Not to worry, though – I found an employee manual that will most certainly help.

The one-page employee handbook

If you want to improve your customer experience, ensure your culture lets your people drive that experience. It’s that simple. A strong culture, aligned with the wants and needs of your customers, sets the stage for true customer-centricity.

This will scare the heck out of most executives, but Nordstrom pretty much says it all by saying very little. Their employee handbook is a single card that simply says this: “Use good judgment in all situations.”

This means that “customer-centric lip service” simply won’t fly. From the top on down, walking the talk is the only thing that counts. To create a customer-centric culture, be sure that everyone in your company knows how important this really is – and align actions and rewards with desired results.

Your people not only need to be incented and rewarded for giving customers what they need. And you need to monitor how well your culture aligns with what you’re telling customers you stand for, and make it a priority to fix misalignment.

If only every company leader did the same when it comes to serving their customers, bad experiences would surely be a thing of the past. Hmm. Maybe we can start a trend…

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