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How can you make everyone care personally about customers?

Friday, September 23, 2011

What are you doing to create customer centricity at all levels?

I was asked by the CCO of a mid-size B2C company what kind of things best-in-class companies are doing to inculcate customer centricity at all levels. What are you doing to help each employee move beyond the "yeah, customers are great, the company should treat them better" mode to that of, "Gee, here's something <I> can do for customers!" How can you expose employees to customers and make their impact on customers well-understood and intensely personal?

Here are some examples, what would you add?
1.) Ride the Trucks
New hires at UPS, no matter the level, all have to ride the trucks for a period of time to understand the core of the business: on-time delivery.

2.) Fly the Route
Former Jet Blue CEO David Neelman used to ride the planes, handing out snacks to the customers, and hanging in the galley talking to flight attendants

3.) Engineer for the Day
A vendor brought in a frustrated customer to present critical product to a team of engineers who then spend the full day brainstorming and solving customer issues. A win for all: engineers got facetime with the customer who in turn got their issues resolved.

4.) Mystery Shoppers
Employees shop the company's own website, evaluating the customer experience from first impression to taking delivery, opening, and inspecting the product

5.) Sharing Verbatims
Simple enough, but rarely done: share verbatim comments from loyalty and other customer surveys with all employees so they get a feel for what customers really think

6.) Guest Customers
Invite customers in to present to employees the ways in which they are using software, hardware, or other products. Ensure they include positives, negatives, ways to improve, and especially ways in which competitors are doing better

7.) Product or service “proving grounds"
LL Bean invites outdoor guides to a special weekend escape where they try out new products and give focused and even harsh feedback.

8.) Social Media Monitors
Have employees monitor social media, discussion boards, and user communities. Sometimes the unvarnished truth comes out when people feel they are anonymous, or when they feel they have the microphone!

9.) Identify the "Mayors"
Who are the lead users, thought leaders, or other most influential people within the customer base? A public utility identified some of the most influential people in the community and political circles and reached out to them to show how they had overcome a serious misstep that had customers and politicians in an uproar.

What would you add to the mix? What have you seen that would make a difference?

View Curtis Bingham's profile on LinkedIn

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Categories: Chief Customer Officer | Customer Centricity

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