Highlights from the North American Study on Customer-Centricity
Dr. Michael Hammer, known as one of the founders of the management theory, once wrote: “A company that does not focus resolutely on its customers and the processes that produce value for its customers is not long for this world.” Walking in the customer’s shoes, finding out what customers really want, and designing processes and services to meet and exceed expectations is the foundation of a customer-centric organization.
Throughout every touch point of a customer-centric organization—whether it is directly or indirectly interfacing with the customer—there is a clear sense of purpose and discipline around how to improve and enhance the customer experience. In 2014, Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc. collaborated with the Peppers & Rogers Group and Contact Centre Pipeline to ask the question “What Is Your Customer-Centric DNA?” to understand the state of customer-centricity across North America. 327 business leaders responded to the North American Study on Customer-Centricity evaluated their progress against 45 essential practices across five pillars of customer-centricity that are needed to achieve customer experience maturity.
Pillar 1: Strategic Alignment
Organizations that are strategically aligned with a customer-centric agenda have their organizational systems united to effectively govern the customer experience. They ensure the customer experience is explicitly tied to a mission statement and the brand reflects customer-centricity. Improvements in customer metrics are reported regularly to investors and key stakeholders.
Pillar 2: Senior Leadership
A customer-centric leader has a strongly-held belief that improving the customer experience will increase the bottom-line. Customer-centric leaders channel the voice of the customer. They write and tell stories about the customer and find lots of ways to interact directly with customers to nurture the relationship.
Pillar 3: Customer Insights
Customer-centric organizations aggressively seek to understand the customer—who they are, what they want, and how they perceive and evaluate their experiences. Mechanisms are put in place to understand the strength of the relationship a customer has with an organization in the form of a loyalty or advocacy measure. As well, the types of interactions that occur with front-line employees and throughout all channels are measured and used to quickly identify and resolve trouble spots in the customer experience.
Pillar 4: Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are more willing to go out of their way to please customers, thereby improving customer satisfaction as a result. Engaged employees are absent from work less frequently, meaning a less experienced replacement worker is not required to fill their role. They are less likely to have safety issues and more likely to perform at higher quality levels, resulting in fewer problems.
Pillar 5: Measurement and Rewards
At the most basic level, measurement and rewards are about shaping behaviours, identifying those actions and activities that will guide employees to implement company strategy, and achieving an organization’s business goals.
Janet LeBlanc is internationally recognized for her expertise in customer value and experience management. She partners with organizations to design and deliver the type of customer experience which results in highly-engaged customers and employees to boost productivity, increase customer loyalty and drive business growth. Janet is the President of Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc.