By Lauren Todorovic

Customers hold the key to the success of any company. So it’s vital that for your organization to get ahead of the competition, you need to listen to your customers.

It seems that everyone knows this – and yet most organizations struggle to keep the customers at the forefront of the business.

Those who do take on such a mentality – and are scaling customer focus – are the ones who are seeing the biggest growth in the customer base and in profit.

Did you know that happy customers are five times as likely to repurchase and three times as likely to recommend a business than unhappy customers?

So how can you ensure that your organization is ahead of the bunch? There’s plenty that can be done, and some are simpler than you think. Putting the customer first doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal – but it does have to be a well thought out one.  

The Six Key Ingredients

Strong Leadership

One of the most vital parts of any organization is the role of the leader. Look at a successful organization, chances are there was a strong leader at the helm of the company.

It is the responsibility of those at the very top to create a customer-centric culture. Without this kind of leadership, the chances of creating the maximum are low.

It’s a domino effect – if the leader believes in putting the customer first, then it will be followed by the lower managers and eventually all the staff in the organization.

Remember, leaders, set the tone for the organization.

Vision and Clarity

Going hand in hand with strong leadership is having a vision that is clear and simple to follow.

It needs to be specific so that everyone within the organization can easily understand the common goal.

The language that you use is crucial as it is a part of the “vision” you are trying to convey. Short simple statements are recommended.

It’s important that the vision you create is something that everyone – staff and customers – can support.

Engagement and Collaboration

While it is important to put the customer first and value their experience, you cannot ensure happy customers without a happy staff.

Employees need to engage and committed to sharing the vision you and your organization are hoping to achieve.

To truly engage your workforce, you have to understand them – what do they like about their work? What do they dislike? Get feedback from them about what they think might make the customers happier.

If staff feel like they are involved in the implementation of better customer service, they will be more engaged.

Listening and Learning

This is one of the simplest steps that so many organizations get wrong – listening to your customer and learning from what they say.

The best way to do this is by having a systematic method for monitoring and collecting customer feedback.

This process is only half done when you have collected this information – if you want to see real improvements in your customer experience, organization has to adapt to the customer.

With that collected information, really analyze what people what and how those changes and improvements can be implemented in the organization.

Alignment and Action

For an organization to succeed – all the different “parts” need to be aligned and working together.

If the organization is marching towards the same vision, and everyone knows what role they have to play, the more likely the organization to find success.

In terms of action, these are measurable steps that are taken to improve the customer experience. This requires a clear plan of what needs to be done and by who.

If everyone involved in not aligned, then you’ll find the actionable steps that are taken will be less effective.

Patience and Commitment

This is probably the most challenging step that organizations deal with – have the patience to see results.  

You’ll often find that most places want a quick band-aid fix, they want to see improvements and real results overnight. But that’s not how it works.

The right customer culture cannot be done quickly and it cannot be outsourced.

Like it or not, the most successful customer-centric organizations in the world are built in an iterative fashion over a number of years.

This organisation is not rigid in their method either – it is slowly altered, practices are refined, and action becomes widespread and aspirational.

It takes all six of these “key ingredients” to truly a success in customer culture. It is imperative that all along this journey, leadership must demonstrate patience and commitment to the process and vision.

Lauren Todorovic