February 21, 2014
In my latest report, "Communication, Training, And Routines: How Companies Socialize Customer Centricity," I explain how companies that want to create a more customer-centric culture use communication, training and routines to help employees adopt a customer-centric point of view. The report provides the following examples and recommendations to help companies socialize customer-focus with all employees.
Communicate the importance of customer-centricity. Effective communications programs share updates with employees about initiatives to reinforce customer focus and highlight the importance of customer experience to the organization. As part of their customer-centric communication programs, companies should connect senior leaders with frontline employees and ensure that all corporate communications reinforce customer focus.
- Companies like Avis Budget Group and E-Trade focus on changing the tone and content of all corporate communications.
- General Motors (GM) assigned leaders the task of explaining the new customer focus to their respective departments. Involving senior leaders in this way reinforced to all employees that customer centricity was now an organizational imperative.
Train employees to deliver the intended experience. Companies need to provide employees with training that highlights the importance of customer experience and connects it with job-specific competencies. That training should ground employees in customer experience fundamentals.
- Cleveland Clinic trained all 42,000 employees in its four patient experience principles. It followed that up with a video about empathy that showed the importance of treating patients and colleagues well.
- Customer experience (CX) training should also integrate with existing training programs. BMO Financial Group’s Institute for Learning and development team integrated an interactive version of its customer experience learning map into new-hire orientation training (see below). The CX learning map is also a foundational part of the compulsory one-day customer experience program within its Leader Development program.
Reinforce customer centricity with routines. Companies can help employees maintain a customer-centric focus by implementing routines that remind employees of how to act. To support customer-centricity, companies should collect and share customer success stories and create regular celebrations of customer-centric employees.
- Canadian airline WestJet collects stories of great customer experiences through its Kudos program. Last year, it received nearly 20,000 submissions to the Kudos program.
- Each year, H&R Block celebrates its most customer-centric employees. The 25 winners of the Henry W. Bloch Excellence In Client Service (HBCS) Awards are flown to company headquarters in Kansas City for a celebration of their achievements, including lunch with founder Henry Bloch and a banquet with senior executives.
Transforming organizational culture to be customer-centric is not easy. Customer experience professionals should be prepared for a process that takes years. In my report, I provide recommendations for how companies can align their transformation to a customer-centric culture to their overall path to customer experience maturity.
What is your company doing to socialize customer centricity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.