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Seven Strategies to Streamline Customer Centric Culture Change [Part two of a two-part series*]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In this week’s blog post, I share four more strategies for making customer centric culture change less painful and more successful for your organization: enlisting and leveraging heroes and allies; hiring for cultural fit; using education and training; and involving your customers.

Create Allies and Heroes

Share far and wide the successes of the people involved in change efforts, making them “heroes” and examples for the rest of the organization to emulate. Make allies of leadership all the way up to the executive committee. In so doing, the CCO leverages greater Borrowed Authority and greater Earned Authority to continue making changes in other parts of the organization.

Hire for cultural fit

The CCO should define the characteristics of individuals who are most likely to embrace cultural change to gain customer centricity. Hiring managers can include those characteristics as part of the employee evaluation criteria.

Educate and inform

Every new employee training should include a presentation by the CCO, providing clear and consistent expectations of the employee’s contribution to customer centricity. Share case studies of employee and client successes on company intranets. Leverage departmental and company-wide meetings to reinforce key messages and content, share feedback on progress toward change goals, and to reward exemplary staff.

Involve customers

Where appropriate, invite customers to tell their story personally or convey their expectations and experience through video or case study. Consider bringing disgruntled customers to meet with key executives, engineers, or support staff. Making the customers real personalizes the customer centricity imperative and leads to much stronger employee commitment.

Customer service and even customer experience are only a small part of becoming customer centric. You need to engage every employee in the business of serving customers. Using these seven strategies will help you as a CCO to overcome resistance to change, create a powerful customer-centric culture, and drive more profitable business results.

*This two-part series on customer centric cultural change has been excerpted from The Bingham Advisory: Eight Imperatives for the Chief Customer Officer, available for free download here.

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Categories: Chief Customer Officer

Seven Strategies to Streamline Customer Centric Culture Change [Part one of a two-part series*]

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A single, disgruntled employee can sabotage the work of hundreds, even thousands, in a single destructive customer interaction. An uninformed policy change can destroy loyalty in a heartbeat. Successful chief customer officers recognize that efforts to improve customer experience are meaningless without a considered effort to change company culture. One company identified that only 6% of a measure of customer centricity was attributable to customer service; the other 94% came from other activities such ease of deciphering bills, cleanliness and maintenance of company vehicles, and understandability of contracts. Customer centricity is much more than customer service or customer experience. It requires a significant change in attitude and culture across virtually 100% of the company.

There are seven strategies for making successful culture change far less painful. In this week’s blog, I touch upon three. I’ll cover the other four in next week’s post.

Obtain executive leadership and support

Executive support for the CCO and cultural change must be constant and visible. Only the CEO has the sphere of influence to mandate change across all facets of the company, and the effective CCO will leverage this Borrowed Authority to open doors and encourage people to listen. With the executive team, CCOs should create a clear definition of what customer centricity means, how the company plans to implement the concept, and how it will be measured.

Identify desired behaviors and measure their adoption

CCOs must clearly define, articulate, and gain consensus around ideal behaviors of a customer centric organization. Behaviors should be demonstrated from the top down, and those who consistently exhibit desired behaviors should be recognized and rewarded. Clear and shared expectations and feedback will help employees understand the process and adoption of culture change.

Create direct and indirect incentives

Time and time again studies across multiple industries have shown that incentives drive behavior change. Employees can be rewarded directly and indirectly. Direct impact comes through a financial bonus and through inclusion of metrics as part of his or her MBO. Indirect incentives include personal recognition through programs like Employee of the Month or assignment of a special parking space. Incentives can effectively be used to reward employees for embracing customer centricity. It is human nature for individuals to respond positively to both financial and personal acknowledgement.

*This two-part series on customer centric cultural change has been excerpted from The Bingham Advisory: Eight Imperatives for the Chief Customer Officer, available for free download from the CCO Council website here.

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Categories: Chief Customer Officer | Customer Centricity

The CCO Dashboard [Part two of a two-part series*]

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

In this second of two blog posts, I discuss the final three out of seven measurements that should be on every CCO’s dashboard, in addition to the potential metrics for each of these areas.

Depth and breadth of customer centricity as part of the culture

How customer-centric is your company, and how do you know? The core value proposition for the CCO is that of creating competitive advantage from increased customer engagement. The impact upon customers should be considered at every strategic decision and incorporated into the stage gate processes.

Metrics: Consider the number of employees with customer-related metrics in their MBOs, or those with a portion of their bonus tied to customer centricity measures. The number of employees involved in various customer engagement programs is also an especially good metric.

Influence on overall revenue

The CCO has indirect and direct impact on revenue. Directly the CCO can influence new sales and retention rates if they have authority over those areas. CCOs can also improve customer-facing processes that have led to more efficient operations, which leads to overhead reductions. Depending on the span of responsibility the CCO may have other less direct opportunities to influence profitability and revenue.

Metrics: Measures will vary by corporation, but some measures might include tracking changes in spending by account based on loyalty scores and customer engagement as these metrics have been shown to impact revenue. The CCO's involvement in the sales process and changes in deal closes and up-selling should be considered as well.

Influence on the key performance indicators of other members of the C-Suite

Initiatives of the CCO should positively affect the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of peers. Every executive should be able see improvements in their metrics if the CCO is effective.

Metrics: The influence of customer centric initiatives on KPIs of other departments is a way of evaluating CCO effectiveness. Improvement in the sales cycle, close rate, new sales due to CCO activities are examples of dashboard metrics.

Given the scope and breadth of the business areas to be monitored and measured, the role of the CCO is not to be entered into lightly. When the CCO is successful, the company is successful. CEOs and Boards of Directors must understand and commit to provide the CCO with visible and continuous support, provide appropriate resources and develop metrics to demonstrate the value of the CCO. There are many such resources available to CCOs to guide them through challenges to success and to keep them from experimenting at the expense of their customers. The CCO Council itself with additional research and peer networking guides many CCOs in their mission.

*This series has been excerpted from The Bingham Advisory: Eight Imperatives for the Chief Customer Officer, available for free download from the CCO Council website here.

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Categories: Chief Customer Officer | Customer Centricity | Customer Insight