By Danyel LaGow
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Earlier this month I attended CXPA’s Insight Exchange conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the fifth annual CXPA Insight Exchange, and it didn’t disappoint. Among all of the tracks, and countless interactions, a singular theme came to the forefront for me — customer obsession.

Customer obsession is something we’ve talked about at Strong-Bridge for some time. And while it might seem obvious, the reality is that a plethora of data and a relentless drive to be competitive has shifted many of us to a more binary way doing things. And while data is critical, it can’t be at the loss of the individual.

Being customer obsessed means that the customer is at the center of every decision. Tools like journey maps, complex listening systems, and customer metrics inform customer-based decisions. Yet, until you have a CULTURE that is customer obsessed, you’re only part way there. For instance, successful companies no longer see employees as a channel to deliver experiences, but as co-creators of experiences.

At the conference, keynotes from companies including Premera Blue Cross and CapitalOne spoke into the need for creating a culture of customer obsession— and the unifying force of having everyone all-in.

With that in mind, here are three steps to fostering a customer-centric culture.

  1. Develop a Clear Vision & Mission

Examine your organization’s vision and mission statements. Is the customer at the center of the vision? Do all employees from across your organization live and breathe that vision when working with or working on things that impact the customer experience? Doug Woodward, VP of Customer Channels at CapitalOne advised: “Define your vision and values by how you want your culture to feel to your customers.”

  1. Engage Your Employees Along the Way

Are you treating your employees as well as you want to treat your customers? Be transparent in your employee communications and make them part of the customer experience. Recognize and showcase those employees who are customer obsessed, and consider developing a customer ambassador program. Curtis Kopf, VP of Customer Experience at Premera Blue Cross, said, “For great customer experience, you must embed it into ALL people processes.”

  1. Share Voice of Customer Insights Across Your Organization

Take a look at who you are sharing valuable customer insights with. The more transparent and open you are at communicating the good and bad feedback from your customers with your employees, the easier it will be to get the organization bought in to improving the overall experience. Employees want to do great things for the customer, but they need to be involved along the way. Doug Woodward, VP of Customer Channels at CapitalOne put it this way, “Culture is transparent. You have to taste the cooking. Hold regular focus groups with employees to get feedback on experience and culture.”

As your organization is working through its journey to improving the overall customer experience, think about how you are engaging your employees and ask yourself if you are on the path to fostering a customer obsessed culture!

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