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Make it real, and other pro tips for developing a customer-centric culture

Corporate culture is a funny thing: firmly entrenched, yet always evolving. Culture can also make or break a CX program, especially a new one. In a perfect world, every company would start right out of the gate with a customer-centric culture. In the real world, this is not the case. But more and more companies are embracing customer experience as a strategy for growth, transformation or even survival. And so, today’s CX leaders are increasingly asked to define, instill and sustain their company’s cultural mind shift to deliberate customer-centricity.

At the CXPA Insight Exchange, about 40 CX practitioners talked with me about how they’ve tackled this challenge. Here, I’m sharing a synthesis of their best strategies, highlighting three that will boost your odds of success.

3 Pro Tips for Developing a Customer-Centric Culture

  1. Make it real. It’s not good enough to just craft a vision for what the culture should be. Employees need tangible, practical and relatable examples of how they can live that vision. One leader talked about the power of incremental change. They deliberately ask employees to make small, easily understandable and executable changes to how they work. As each change becomes a habit, a new small change is introduced. Over time, this collection of new habits multiplies to equal substantial and sustainable change.Today’s CX leaders are increasingly asked to define, instill, and sustain their company’s cultural mind shift to deliberate customer centricity.
  2. Focus on middle managers. They’re like the stereotypical middle child: often overlooked. Yet they are critical to a successful culture change. They set the tone for how their teams behave. One company shared that their CX Champions come exclusively from their pool of middle managers. Once they are recruited, the focus is on building their understanding of why CX and customer centricity need to be priorities for them and their teams. Converted to believers, they become strong advocates and role models for the desired culture.
  3. Keep it visible. You know what they say… out of sight, out of mind. A strong rollout and early training aren’t enough. CX leaders must find ways to keep customer centricity top of mind. Several leaders spoke about creating internal online hubs for all things CX, giving curious employees a place to go to learn more. These hubs include the ‘why’ and the ‘how,’ often amplified using actual voice of the customer testimonials to bring the impact of the culture shift to life. And they are often supplemented with rewards and recognition efforts that visibly celebrate the stories of people who are ‘getting it right.’

Here at Walker, we take a 3-step approach to igniting culture change: envision – activate – momentum. You can learn more about that here. And for more tips on establishing rituals and creating habits, this blog from Allison Grayson has you covered. What else are you doing to develop a customer-centric culture at your company?

About the Author

Jennifer Batley

Jennifer Batley

Jennifer provides executive-level leadership to key Walker clients, advising on CX transformation strategies and guiding initiatives aimed at creating advantage based on differentiated customer experience. By understanding needs and opportunities, she ensures her clients are optimizing customer insights to drive bottom-line results and value in alignment with their core strategies, business objectives and brand promises. She collaborates with clients’ senior management to establish goals and success metrics that ensure mutually valuable relationships, and she leads internal Walker teams to deliver compelling outcomes and long-term partnerships. Jennifer also provides deployment consulting and facilitates presentations and workshops focused on communicating recommendations and supporting clients through development and execution of action plans. In addition to client responsibilities, Jennifer is engaged in thought leadership and solution development based on trends impacting CX practices and is currently focused on the intersection of brand promises with CX design and delivery.

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