Five ways to develop a CX-centric DNABY Australian Retailers Association
Developing a CX-centric DNA is more than just an initiative; it’s a business discipline and a way of life.
Becoming customer-centric doesn’t just happen overnight. It begins with a vision, which, over time becomes a fully-immersive way of doing business. It’s more than an initiative - it’s a business discipline - a way of life within a brand. Here are five key building blocks for infusing customer centricity into your brand.
- Vision: A vision is not simply a mission statement; it needs to specifically tie into your brand’s promise and guiding values. It should be clearly defined and communicated to employees, as well as expected by customers. When you have a clear vision, you’re more likely to follow through and more importantly, you’re motivated to improve.
It must be said that a company’s mission shouldn’t just come from a brand or organisation’s perspective. It needs to be driven by what customers require and what their expectations are. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a gap caused by brands delivering what they think customers want but not actually delivering on what they need. This is what we call ‘the brand and experience gap’.
Developing a customer-led approach, using customer data to truly understand what customers want and need, and ingraining it into your organisation will assist in closing this gap and have substantial short and long-term benefits for your business.
- Executive Commitment: In an ideal world, a customer-centric culture and business practices begin at the top. In fact, research shows that, if the CEO is not leading the customer experience (CX) conversation, then a company will never become a CX leader and reap the related benefits. CX professionals need to build a compelling business case, that supports executive goals so that the relationship between CX success and the bottom line is evident.
- People: Once you define your vision, it must be infused across hiring, training, coaching, and professional development to build and nurture a customer-centric culture for the long term. Your vision should help define the specific behaviours and traits of employees required to deliver on the brand promise. This means shifting hiring practices from skill-based to personality-fit, so you can hire within the scope of your company’s CX vision.
- Environment: Maintaining a customer-centered company takes comprehensive commitment and incentives that match those objectives. Find ways to recognise people for upholding the brand’s promise and reward those who continually strive to improve the customer experience. Also, design KPIs, communication, and recognition programs to reinforce the message that you both hear and heed employee contributions. Fostering an environment where your employees feel empowered is also vitally important. Empowered and engaged employees more often than not, translates into happy and engaged customers. Staff who feel empowered and feel connected to your company’s vision will do everything for the good of the business and most importantly, the customer.
- Communication: A vision is only realised if it is effectively communicated throughout an organisation and to the world. Internally, discuss expectations, challenges and successes constantly. There must be continuous follow up and clear, consistent communication to all employees. Externally, publicly state and provide updates to investors, analysts, media, and other external stakeholders regarding CX efforts and their impact on the business. It’s incredibly important to keep customers updated too. They need to see how you take on feedback in a continuous improvement cycle and listen to them when they take time out of their day to provide feedback. All this combined, not only brings you credit where it’s due and ensures future accountability, but also helps attract the right kind of employees - and customers - to your business.
Cultivating CX-centric DNA is not only essential to creating lasting relationships with your customers, but it is a foundational pillar for a successful CX strategy. Brands which succeed in this area, will reap major benefits and have the potential to gain rapid market share from those that don’t.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.