Tag Archives: Customer Centric Culture

How to Create Game-Changing Market Differentiation

Photo: USS Enterprise, Rob Young from United Kingdom. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.’

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur

In “Across The Board, CMOs Struggling To Deliver An Integrated Customer Experience,”  Daniel Newman states that “only 13% of the 110 CMOs surveyed said they are able to truly deliver a personalized and engaging customer experience across channels.”

Are you facing the same challenge? Join Darryl Speach, Chief Customer Officer, Greystone & Co, Inc., as he presents “Designing a Customer Centric Culture: The Final Frontier for Game-Changing Market Differentiation” during the Total CX Leaders Conference June 3-4 in Miami, Fla.

During this session, you’ll learn valuable insights and the steps required to instill and sustain a successful customer-centric culture.

Prior to joining Greystone, Darryl was Disney’s lead consultant assigned to the Disney Institute/McKinsey & Company co-branded joint venture, specializing in customer experience transformations.

Total CX Leaders Conference will help you “learn how to listen to your customers, understand their differences and set the foundation to build a road map to create a seamless experience for modern customers.”

Join Darryl at Total CX Leaders Conference (TCXL) 2015 in Miami. Register today!

Stay connected with TCXL15:
- twitter.com/#TCXL15
- linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
- facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Which Comes First: Business Strategy or Customer Experience?

Photo by paul bica

Following up on yesterday’s post, “Making Promises, Keeping Promises: Building Brand and Loyalty through Customer Experience,” organizations must transform by aligning toward customer experiences to gain a competitive edge, as explained in “Customer Experience: Is it the Chicken or Egg?” by Christine Crandell.

During last month’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, brand strategists, innovation experts and other thought-leaders shared their insights and best practices for driving a customer-centric culture. Here are some highlights to help you design and deliver exceptional customer experiences:


Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Put People First – Your Success Depends On It

Photo by paul bica

“Those that will always help a friend, will always have a friend.” – Anthony Douglas Williams, inspirational author

When you put people first in everything you do, you will be rewarded in many ways. Companies that put people first – their employees as well as their customers – achieve new and higher levels of loyalty.

Putting people first allows you to understand the key drivers of employee and customer satisfaction so you can leverage empathy to improve their experiences.

Is your company customer-focused or operations-focused? Find out by reading
“Six Differences Between Customer-Focused Companies and Operations-Focused Companies” by Shep Hyken.

If people are your priority, use these insights from this year’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit to help you design and deliver exceptional customer and employee experiences:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

    Customer-Centric Culture: Why it Matters and How to Measure it

    Photo by paul bica

    “A great customer experience can only be delivered by someone who wants to give it.” – Ian Luxford, Learning Services Director, Grass Roots

    During last week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Bill Barnes, Senior Vice President, Client Services and Jaci Jarrett Masztal, Ph.D, Vice President, Practice Leader from Burke Inc.,presented “Customer-Centric Culture: Why it Matters and How to Measure it.” Bill and Jaci contend that the employee engagement process and the customer experience process, which are usually separate management processes in many organizations, be brought together to improve organizational performance.

    This approach is based on the premise that a high level of employee engagement is critical to creating and enhancing positive customer experiences leading to customer engagement. To improve employee engagement, organizations should focus on ways to:

    • Improve job performance
    • Provide more job growth opportunities
    • Enhance Talent Management
    • Better serve various internal stakeholder needs
    • Improve commitment and retention
    • Enhance customer service

    A customer-centric culture that actively focuses on what is best for the customer is a critical factor in improving organizational performance. Customer centricity is a part of all organizational aspects including leadership, strategy, decision making, operations and in ongoing job functions. It’s also important to remember that culture is:

    • Broader – it’s more than an initiative
    • Cross-functional, enterprise-wide
    • Long-term strategy
    • Motivation, focus, behavior
    • Multi-dimensional

    A challenge for most organizations is determining how measure a customer-centric culture. Measurement allows a true gap analysis and a baseline to track change and assess impact. At Burke, Bill and Jaci help their clients to measure their culture with The Customer Centricity Index, which measures across these six important dimensions:

    • Leadership & Strategy
    • Messaging & Modeling
    • Employee Understanding & Commitment
    • Product & Service
    • Excellence Support & Tools
    • Recognition & Appreciation

    Leadership drives the strategy and culture which sets the foundation for Who, What, and How, all of which drive and support customer engagement and business success. Employees believe the products and services are worthy and are equipped to deliver. Employees are recognized and rewarded for the customer-centric behaviors to be reinforced and repeated. Full customer centricity is achieved when the organization has a collective mindset of doing what needs to be done to the benefit of the customer.

    Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

    Employee Recognition Programs Energize and Strengthen Customer-Centric Organizations

    Photo by paul bica

    “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James, psychologist and philosopher
    Customer-centric companies know how important it is to reward and recognize their employees. If employees feel appreciated, then they are able to effectively and consistently show appreciation for customers.
    During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL), Janet LeBlanc, President, Janet LeBlanc & Associates Inc., showed how employee recognition programs are fundamental to the success of a great customer experience program in these three areas of impact:
    1. Employee: Recognize employees as part of the process of developing customer solutions
    2. Customer: Reinforce the ideal customer experience – intentionally
    3. Enterprise: Reward organizational improvements and create a customer-centric culture
    Recognition practices are provided to acknowledge or give special attention to employee actions, efforts, behaviors and/or performance and contribute to organizational success. Recognition should be:
    • In the moment
    • Appropriate and in context
    • Tied to employee’s perceived value
    • Individual and team based
    Stay tuned for more customer experience insights shared at this week’s TCEL. Stay connected at:

    • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
    • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
    • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

    Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

    The 9 Commandments of Being Customer-Centric

    You may have heard people say, ‘It’s not about us. It’s about them, the customer! The implication ‘ what sounds enticing to the recipient ‘ is that these people believe that customer-devoted organizations drive significant profitable revenue growth and they execute strategically against their proclamation daily. Unfortunately, most often, nothing could be further from the truth, which is why many companies’ PRG remains anemic ‘ a sign of a non-customer-focused organization. According to Kansas City Business Journal, here are nine proven methods of living the customer-centric mantra.

    9. Your customer’s issues ARE your issues. Third Door clients understand that the function formerly known as sales is now 80 percent ‘research.’ They know that relevancy, demand creation and attraction are the front-end drivers of sustainable PRG, replacing ineffective sales techniques. Therefore, what procedures and technology are used to feed you this information that helps create the desired positioning?

    8. Honor thy customer. Think about a card section in a local grocery store that showcases designs by customers, displaying where they’re from by city and state. How do you think that makes the consumer feel? How is your customer council structured and how is the all-important state of co-destiny achieved?

    7. Further your customer’s purpose. Try this as a sales call opening: ‘I understand what you do. However, I’m curious why you do it? If I can understand that more clearly, I can better determine if we’re a good fit.’ With this information secured, share how your value proposition helps strengthen the client’s ‘true north.’ And because your organization’s objective should be profitability, so it can provide jobs and sustain the community in which it serves, then your primary prospect qualifier is shared purpose, right? 

    6. Help advance customer’s value proposition. The definition of value proposition is, ‘The crystal clear statement of the tangible results the customer receives from your products, services and experiences.’ So how are you positively impacting your customers’ tangible results? If you’re not influencing customers’ key performance indicators then you’re a commodity.

    5. Fortify customer’s competitive advantages. What your customer’s top brass wants more than anything else are new, challenging and effective ideas. If you’re in sales, when’s the last time your boss asked, ‘When is the last three times you challenged a customer and provided new, innovative thoughts’?

    4. Delight your customer’s customer. What are the needs of your customer’s customer? The only thing more important to your customer than his/her profitability is creating more happy and loyal customers.

    3. Pay it forward. A past client, a well-known restaurant, is led by a chef who had an idea to reward loyal patrons, by surprising them with their favorite dinner served at home, with live music. Then, the couple suggested the chef do the same thing for a family in need they knew. How does this story square with your charitable efforts? As has been said before, the greatest marketing strategy ever devised is care.

    2. Employ customer-centric key metrics. How do you integrate the ‘voice of the customer’ into your management dashboard? One team, one all-important score, people. And that ‘score’ should lean toward some type of ‘customer delight’ measurement.

    1. Customers help design your value proposition. When strategic planning is performed at your company, the customer’s voice is absent. Have you ever asked customers why they buy from you?

    Poll Results: Does your organization have a customer-centric culture?

    I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn asking “Does your organization have a customer-centric culture?” which was posted on this blog and across several customer service and customer experience related groups.

    While not statistically significant in scope, the results really surprised me: 40% of those who responded answered no! If professionals who have enough of an interest in customer experience topics to join a related LinkedIn group or read this blog feel this way, how would any other employee respond?

    We’ve heard time and again that a customer centric culture will lead to improved customer experiences. How can we make this a priority for organizations?

    The poll is now closed, but air your thoughts in the comments here! Is your company’s culture customer focused? Why or why not? If not, would you want to change things?

    Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She is the voice behind the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com

    New Poll: Does your organization have a customer-centric culture?

    Back in January of 2009, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wrote on the Zappos company blog:

    “We believe that your company’s culture and your company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand may lag the culture at first, but eventually it will catch up.

    Your culture is your brand.”

    And we’ve written here frequently about the importance of a customer centric culture within the company to building a great customer experience program (including speaking with Jamie Naughton of Zappos about it in 2011). Now we want to know, is your organization there yet? Or is there still work to be done?

    Vote in this LinkedIn poll to tell us your thoughts:

    Our Total Customer Experience Leaders LinkedIn group is a great place to connect with the community and network with over 1,000 of your peers. Join us there today.

    NACCM 2009: Fueling Loyalty with a Mile High Customer-Centric Culture

    During this crazy economic time, companies have two choices, according to Vicky Stennes, VP, Inflight Experience for JetBlue Airlines:1. Think the economy is cyclical and wait it out.2. Think customers have changed, and will continue to change. Now is a time to create a long-term strategy to create a more customer-centric culture.JetBlue has followed the 2nd choice. With their mission of ‘bringing humanity back to air service,’ they must be doing something (or should I say many things?) right. J.D. Power & Associates has ranked them 2009 Top Low Cost Airline for Customer Satisfaction.Not that JetBlue hasn’t had it’s share of public bumps and bruises. Many people remember the public relations nightmare that occurred when JetBlue customers were stranded on the runway for hours with no food, bathroom, etc.This innovative airline has managed to keep it’s chin in the air and continually focus on one of it’s main challenges: how to get people to give them a try. One of the things they’ve done is study the amazing difference in perception between people who are simply aware of the airline, and the people who have actually flown on the airline. People who have flown on JetBlue have a very high opinion of the attributes and features offered. People without flight experience on JetBlue pretty much rank them with all the other low cost carriers in terms of service and features.To create the ‘mile high customer-centric culture’ they are becoming known for, JetBlue started with a clearly defined set of values:

    • Safety
    • Caring
    • Integrity
    • Fun
    • Passion

    Then they identified behaviors that embody the values (They call them The Five ‘Be’s’):

    • Be in Blue always
    • Be personal
    • Be the answer
    • Be engaging
    • Be thankful to every customer

    These values and beliefs stem from JetBlue’s core belief: Culture and service are one in the same. One way they convey the culture both internally and externally is their ‘blue’ vocabulary. Everything is ‘Blue’ ‘ memos are called ‘Bluenote’; cities they fly to are called ‘Blue Cities.’ They’re cornering the market on the word!Another interesting idea that helps to spread the culture of service throughout the company is their attitude that everyone is a ‘crew member.’ This echoes of Disney’s ‘cast member’ philosophy, and it seems to work equally well.What’s the JetBlue ‘Secret Ingredient’? Crew members make experiences.The right kind of leadership is critical to leading a customer-centric organization. According to the JetBlue leadership philosophy, if you want to know what kind of leader you are, look at your calendar. If your calendar doesn’t reflect 70% of your time is spent working with your crew members, you’re not living the JetBlue culture.Employees are equally important. So much so that JetBlue has instituted some tried and true, as well as some ground-breaking employee engagement efforts, including:

    • No salary cuts
    • Investment in retirement and profit sharing
    • High levels of communication via Crewmember channels

    JetBlue also understands who it’s core customers are. Internally, they’re called VFRs ‘ Visiting Friends and Relatives. As business is down overall in this economy, JetBlue’s share of this audience is up ‘ a testimony to the service it provides at a value price. And a testimony to the fact that when people are visiting friends and relatives, they truly value what they get from JetBlue.Continuous Innovation is another key element of JetBlue’s service culture. It is their believe that innovation can take many forms, and it’s not always the new & different.An example of JetBlue innovation during the recession. Their very successful (so successful they don’t release the actual results) ‘All You Can Jet’ campaign. This program offered $599 unlimited travel between Sept 8-Oct 8. The results:

    • Demand far exceeded expectations
    • Nearly 50% of customers in this program had never flown JetBlue
    • Viral Launch ‘ 133 million reached through various social media channels and PR sources.
    • They received an estimated $14 million worth of media coverage
    • ‘Outrageous’ response from customers ‘ in a good way!

    This program was amazingly more successful than they had hoped. Some flying fanatics actually flew more than 80 times during the program!JetBlue’s new terminal at JFK ‘ T5 ‘ is a fresh new look at air travel. By paying attention to what travelers need today (as opposed to 1950), JetBlue offers a bright, energetic space that includes:

    • lots of electrical outlets
    • free wifi
    • 22 restaurants and food outlets
    • 25 retail stores
    • a large kids area

    One of the most fascinating stories about the new terminal was how JetBlue even thought through the security experience. They understand that even when you go through security, that’s still part of the JetBlue experience. So they created a better experience for TSA (the security agency) by improving the layout of the security area, and giving them padded floors among other improvements. The result is happier TSA workers who, in turn, help create happier customers.The Q&A at the end of the session included some thoughtful questions from the packed room:Q. How does idea generation work in your company?A. Through the continuous dialog with our crewmembers. We do ‘pocket sessions’ several times a year ‘ listening tours to get feedback from customers.Q. Are there certain behaviors you strive for to create the culture?A. It starts with how we teach and treat each other. If treat each other right, it will flow to the customer.We send surveys to 6 customers from every flight. One of the questions is on how much camaraderie there was among the crew. How much fun were they having? We use that information to see how we’re doing.
    JetBlue, like many other companies represented at this year’s NACCM Customer’s 1st Conference are utilizing Net Promoter scores to help them increase the number of people who will refer them to other travelers.Vicky’s final message to customer service leadership: ROLE MODEL the behaviors you want. Your people are always watching you. You can put them through training, but your example means more than anything else. Great advice to end the session.Takeaways that the audience shared also make a great summary of the session:

    • It all starts with how we treat each other
    • Culture is service
    • When asked what makes you different, answer with a story instead of a soundbite
    • Focus on continuous innovation as well as consistency
    • Culture and profit should work together
    • Manage the balance between making crew members, customers, and shareholders happy.
    • Leadership should spend 70% of their time with crew members
    • Acknowledge imperfection. Things happen. Be honest and deal with it.