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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

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