Making a customer is an art that an “artist” must master in order to bring out a “masterpiece”. Although the process of painting on an empty canvas can require a tremendous amount of sweat, blood, and tears, the consequence of such an effort is always exponentially rewarding.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was nicknamed “the empty chair” because he periodically left one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, “the most important person in the room.”
The idea was simple. Culture is in action, not in words. Your team is watching you and will emulate what they see. This is exactly the point Jeff Bezos was trying to drive home.
Without such a cultural shift and unified vision of customer focus in the organization, it all ends up becoming a lip service. Everyone only talks about being customer centric, probably also report it in their review meetings, but no concrete actions are taken.
The senior management should buy into the idea of customer centricity and communicate it in words and action. Not only should the customer be at the core of their communication, but also in showcasing their focus through their action, only after which does it all make sense; for otherwise, it all seems like a sugarcoated pretence to value the customers rather than giving them an ear, thought and service in actuality.
It thus becomes the responsibility of the top authorities to delve the whole organization into adopting such practices.
- Declare customer experience as top priority: Make an audacious declaration of customer experience being top priority. Be vocal about it in all forms of communication, with the press, employees, customers, vendors and every other stakeholder. Declaring it as top priority is key in bringing about a shift in mind-set of delivering an exceptional experience to customers.
- Back the right projects: Prioritise and support projects which are designed to improve the customer experience. This sends out the message that you are not just about words but believe in action and are keen to bring change. Focus on some quick wins to being the momentum in deriving results. Take bets on some customer-centric projects which may require larger investments but are important for long term business success.
- Encourage customer-centric behavior and policies: A change in focus and goals may result in resistance from the members. Show them the bright side of these policies and strategies. Lift up the idea of customer experience and build a unified vision among all. Thus, relevant customer-centric strategies should be formulated for initiating change and growth and what follows, would be the action driven towards the same.
- Empower employees with tools to deliver the promised experience: Provide your teams with the right tools to listen to what your customers have to say about you. Automate what you can so your team can focus on taking action. Collating information and deriving actionable insights is just a waste of time.
- Remove roadblocks for your team: Problems faced by your teams are like roadblocks that deter them in achieving desired results. As a customer focused leader it is your responsibility to help your teammates overcome these problems.
- Sustain and Maintain focus: Building the culture of customer focus is not a one-time activity, it’s a continuously evolving process. You need to establish a communication system which helps you being the voice of customer to the employees. You also need to establish processes to continuously act on the voice of customer. Also, make sure the team is accountable for tangible action.