The Importance of Creating a Customer-First Culture: A Comprehensive Guide

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The time has long gone when the “product” was considered as the key driver of a business, the current scenario inclines towards a customer-driven market.

A research study published by Forrester, claims that around the end of 2010, marked the beginning of a new era- ‘Age of the customers’.

Additional studies showed that about 54% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago.

Thus, a customer-first culture is paramount for your business to stay at par with changing scenarios.

But how would you integrate a ‘customer-first culture’ into your business?

This article will help you know:

What does Customer-First mean?

The term ‘Customer-First culture’ means aligning your business model along with customer requirements and experience while ensuring that your employees work with a customer-first mentality.

Simply speaking, ‘customer-centric culture’ includes adopting customer-first habits and ensuring that your products and services meet the demands of your customers, and your employees work with only one goal in mind – satisfying your customers by providing them with the best experience possible.

The following image is a perfect representation of a customer-centric culture:

Why is Incorporating a Customer-Focused Culture Important?

Let us first understand the customer-focused culture definition: 

A company is said to exhibit a customer-focused culture if it prioritizes customer satisfaction above growth, sales, revenue, shareholders, profits, etc.

The following nuggets will help you understand the importance of creating a customer-focused culture in your organization:

  • A customer-driven marketing strategy helps you gather loads of information on who your customers are and what they require. This makes it easy for your company to develop products that are in demand and thus, help in enhancing your business growth.
  • A Customer-first mentality ensures the retention of your customers, which also saves you a lot of money that you would have otherwise invested to reel in new customers.
  • Customer centricity can help you satisfy your customers and leverage positive word-of-mouth. Since most buyers tend to check for online reviews on your products before making purchases, a customer service culture will increase the reliability of your company.
  • Methods to incorporate a customer-centric culture involve a system of feedback and response action (explained later on in this article). 

The customer feedback obtained, helps you in improving your product and services, thereby raising your score in the fields of product demand and customer experience.

Having understood why it is essential to change your business strategies and focus them on the ‘customer- first’ mentality, let us now understand how to be customer-focused:

10 Steps to Achieve Customer-First Culture in Your Organization:

Step 1: Encourage customer perspectives

Your customers are the ones consuming your products, so why not consider their insights when developing them?

You need to keep an open mindset and welcome customer insights through feedback forms and review platforms. You should also track your customer behaviors and analyze their buying patterns. This will help you understand their perspectives so that you can work towards customer satisfaction.

Step 2: Prioritize quality over quantity

Instead of prioritizing more sales, focus your resources on building a loyal customer base. 

Quick sales are a transient phenomenon that eventually ends up increasing the churn rate of your customers.

As per research, 81% of consumers believe that they need to be able to trust the brand to buy from them.

So work towards building stronger relationships and loyal customers. This will help you in maintaining a constant flow of sales.

Step 3: Incorporate a customer-obsessed culture

Let us first understand what customer obsession means. Customer obsession is when a company exhibits an acute focus on customer experience and requirements.

Simply put, a customer-obsessed company builds all its strategies right from product development to sales based on its customers’ point of view.

A study performed by Forrester shows that customer-obsessed companies experience a 2.5 times higher growth rate than the ones that are not.

Step 4: Sell products that your customers need

Instead of forcing sales, try and understand what your customers require and then develop your products to meet these demands. 

Developing customer-centric goods will automatically sell due to their preexisting demand in the market.

Step 5: Treat your employees well

For your employees to treat your customers nicely, your employees must be first treated well. 

A happy employee will be cheerful and empathetic while interacting with your customers and thus, improve customer experience.

The best way to ensure employee satisfaction is to improve their engagement. A recent survey proved that a company with more engaged employees enjoyed better CX for its customers.

The following infographic can help you understand how engaged employees imply higher CX.

Step 6: Invest in professional development

For your business venture to be a success, the quality of your employees is an important factor that you need to work upon. 

Introduce training programs to improve your employees’ interpersonal skills, technical skill-sets and thus, help in molding their personalities. After all, they are the ones representing your company in the outside world.

Step 7: Hire committed people

A place is as good as the people inhabiting it. Similarly, the commitment of your employees is one of the primary determinants of the success of your company. 

While recruiting your staff, look for an employee who serves or helps customers. A customer focused employee will have the ability to look through the customers’ lens and empathize with them thereby improving CX. 

Step 8: Set ‘goals and visions’ for your customer service team

Targets give your employees a finish line. It is easier to strategize the expenditure of efforts once you can visualize the journey you need to make.

Image Source

Providing a vision to your customer service team will help you focus their attention on the goal and thus motivate them to perform better. 

For example, envision the following goals to build a customer-focussed team:

  • Reduce response time
  • Reduce interaction costs
  • Provide immediate solutions
  • Empathize with customers

Step 9: Allow people to be creative and experiment

People are unique and so is their thought process. Allow your employees to be creative and pool in these thoughts to formulate the best plan for achieving the goals you set for your team.

Employees who interact with customers daily tend to understand what the current demands are. Formulating plans based on this knowledge would boost your customer satisfaction levels.

Step 10: Create Standards and Policies

Include a customer-centric culture in your policies to ensure that all your employees heed the customer-first mentality.

Formulate standards that motivate your employees to go above and beyond customer service practices. You could incorporate gifts and recognitions to induce some motivation for the same.

However, just understanding what needs to be done to inculcate a customer-first mentality in your organization is not sufficient for growth. Implementing newfound knowledge is always the tougher part. 

The best way to find out whether you are implementing the right strategies is to check your growth. The next section of this article talks about the methods to measure the level of customer culture in your organization.

5 Ways to Measure the Level of Customer Culture in your Organization

1. Construct a Customer Value Score: 

As mentioned earlier in this article, when you inculcate a customer-driven marketing strategy, you amass a huge load of customer data. From this, use the data about your customers’ purchase frequency and customer revenue to calculate the Value score and determine who your most valuable customers are.

Click here to get a detailed explanation for the calculation of a customer value score.

2. Calculate your customers’ cost to acquire:

Calculate the customer acquisition cost to determine how much you spent in acquiring a customer. 

Simply put, Customers’ Cost to Acquire is the total amount of money that you spent in convincing a customer to use your services or subscribe to your organization and make purchases.

3. Determine the churn rate:

The Churn rate of your company is the number of subscribers/customers who stopped availing of your services or renewing their subscriptions with your organization. This will help you determine how well your customer service elements are functioning.

4. Implement the net promoter score (NPS):

Simply put, it is a means to measure the level of happiness of your customers.

It asks a simple question asking them to choose a range for their satisfaction and based on the customers’ response, determines whether they are promoters, passives, or demoters.

The following image will help you understand how the NPS system works:

5. Determine your customers’ lifetime value:

The Customer Lifetime Value measures the total amount of revenue a customer generated for you right from their first purchase to the last interaction that they had with your company.

If you still have any lingering doubts regarding whether you should work towards attaining a culture of service excellence, this part of the article is dedicated to some real-life examples that have integrated customer service elements within their organizations and are now reaping their benefits.

Some Customer Service Culture Examples to learn from:

1. Telstra:

Telstra, an Australian Telecommunication company has invested loads of money on improving its customer satisfaction and has been accoladed with several awards for the same.

2. Hilton:

Hilton is the epitome of customer satisfaction in their respective niche. Their efforts in this field earned them the 80th position in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. 

They incorporate the latest technologies in their rooms that cater to every need of their customers’ right from their favorite TV Channels to lights that change automatically according to their preferences.

3. Slack:

Slack incorporates customer service and technology to track and cater to all the concerns and feedback from their customers. They make regular amendments to their products and services to meet their customers’ requirements.

4. AGL Energy:

AGL Energy is one of the leading companies when it comes to customer-centric ventures. Their efforts in this field won them the ‘Best CX Companies People’s Choice for Utilities’ in the year 2014. They have been redefining the customer experience through repeated investments in the same.

5. Natura:

Natura incorporates a streamlined communication system that facilitates them in gathering valuable customer data to customize and improve their products and services. 

6. Chick-fil-A:

Chick-fil-A incorporates top-of-the-line technologies to provide in-person management during rush hours. Their customer-centric approach earned them an ASCI score of 86 in the year 2019.

7. USAA:

USAA not only ensures the regular collection of customer feedback but has also implemented hundreds of them to cater to the needs of their customers. Thus, they now enjoy the luxury of a wide range of customer loyalty.

Last Words:

The business world has now emerged into a new era. In this era, all the power lies in the hands of the customers. 

With easy access to all sorts of information flooding the internet, it is very convenient for customers to get details about your products and reviews regarding your services to make calculated decisions before spending a single penny.

Thus, it is now paramount that you integrate customer service elements throughout your business plans. 

For your business to flourish in these changing times, Helplama can help you by providing a customer-centric customer service team as per your business needs to improve according to customer requirements and feedback.

Alternatively, if you are planning to improve the efficiency of your customer service team, equip them with Saufter. With its features like automated workflows, marketing automation, etc., your team can save the time invested in repetitive tasks. Additionally, it also offers customized pricing plans.

So, what are you waiting for?

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