Improving the customer experience starts with corporate culture

Jennifer MacIntosh
Posted: 10/11/2017

Delivering a high-quality CX, consistently, across the entire organisation, starts with your internal culture

If you’re seeking to improve your organisation’s customer experience and are tempted to put all your time and energy into driving CSAT and CES scores, you’re missing the big picture. While those are key indicators of improvement, they cannot be looked at in isolation, or be the sole focus of your attention.

Before looking for ways to enhance your customer community, making content easily accessible to your customers and support agents, and finding a technology that makes it all possible, it’s important to get to the root of the problem: your corporate culture.

We are living in the age of the customer. In fact, according to Forrester, we’re already five years into it. What does that mean exactly? It means that your customers are being offered, and have been for some time, unforgettable digital experiences. Ideas and information are shared consistently and instantly, everyone and everything is connected – and if that reality is not at the core of your organisation as a whole, yesterday is not soon enough to reassess your company goals.

We are living in the age of the customer. In fact, according to Forrester, we’re already five years into it.


In a recent study by Econsultancy, 58 per cent of respondents reported that in order for companies to establish a truly “digital-native” culture, being customer-centric was the most important. Amazon, Apple and Starbucks are leading examples of brands whose company cultures revolve around their customers and their needs.

Though good customer service is a key component, it’s a piece of the puzzle. Customer centricity in the larger sense should be part of your company’s DNA. It means offering a great experience from the beginning of the customer journey in their awareness phase, as they are considering purchasing your product or service, straight through their post-purchase process. Hence the need for company-wide buy-in.

Understandably, getting the entire organisation on the same page is no easy feat, but a misalignment of this magnitude will inevitably create confusion in different departments, unnecessary delays in everything from response times to product launches, and puts you at an incredible competitive disadvantage.

Amazon, Apple and Starbucks are leading examples of brands whose company cultures revolve around their customers and their needs


Consider this: your organisation exists to fulfil certain needs, solve particular challenges and meet the demands of those who are faced with that challenge. Without your customers you will no longer be in business… if they’re not at heart of your company, what is?

Gaining alignment and achieving sustained success is possible through a customer experience (CX) transformation, complete with solid culture practices, that keeps the customer-first mentality top of mind for everyone. Making customer-centric behaviour part of your corporate culture ensures that it permeates every department and is felt in every touch point, delivering an unrivalled customer experience.

Though many companies see the benefit in shifting to a customer-centric culture, and get well into the transformation process, the completion rate dwindles due to a lack of patience, discipline, or grit that’s needed to ride out the five or so years it takes to completely transform.

In a recent report, Forrester claims that most organisations undergoing CX transformations abandon the strategy mid-flight or fail to commit fully to the necessary changes. Which begs the question: why is it so hard?

Though good customer service is a key component, it’s a piece of the puzzle. Customer centricity in the larger sense should be part of your company’s DNA.

Culture change, like any major adjustment, requires change management. Behind everything your company does are people with goals, processes and behaviours that they’re likely comfortable with and unkeen to let go of. They may not see the need for change from their purview, the thought of change may be uninteresting to them, or the thought of any sort of “transformation” may be horrifying.

Yet companies embark on a CX transformation with a tendency to think that identifying and articulating customer-centric values is enough to bring a customer-centric culture to life. Sadly, articulating the end goal alone will not drive behavioural change; a plan is necessary for people to understand how to embrace, adopt and effectively use the knowledge and tools that will make change possible.

However, for your customers and the livelihood of your organisation, the possibility of change won’t cut it. You can make this change probable by helping your employees in the following three ways found in the Forrester report:

1. Ingrain specific customer-centric behaviours: CX transformation leaders must provide detailed guidance to all employees and partners about what they can do to contribute to the intended experience. The behavioural guidance should be specific and role-appropriate, and should build upon existing examples of positive customer experiences.

2. Remove barriers that make it harder to act in customer-centric ways: Barriers can be real or perceived, and companies need to tackle both. CX leaders must correct the misperceptions of employees and partners who don’t believe they contribute to the customer experience. They must also remove or revise processes, policies and systems that make it harder to adopt customer-centric behaviours.

3. Add enablers that make it easier to be customer-centric: Employees and partners need support to consistently hit the mark on customer centricity. Transformation leaders should establish training and communication that helps them know what behaviours to deliver. They should select role models of customer centricity to emulate, and create a coaching and feedback environment that helps refine and improve performance.

This may seem like more trouble than it’s worth but there are significant advantages to making the shift to a customer-centric culture. Customer-centric companies are 60 per cent more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 US CEOs say it is a top priority to strengthen their customer and client engagement programs. Don’t be left in the dust.

It’s important to take a more holistic approach and measuring the success of your transformation, and how the efforts and results of each group or department tie back to your company’s overall goal of improving the customer experience. If there’s one thing to keep in mind throughout the process it’s that what gets measured gets done.

Customer-centric companies are 60 per cent more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer.


To learn more about optimising your culture practices for CX transformation and enabling your employees to adopt a customer-centric culture, get a limited-time, complimentary copy of Forrester’s report, Remove Barriers And Add Enablers For A Customer-Centric Culture.

Jennifer MacIntosh
Posted: 10/11/2017