Entire business culture plays a vital part in customer experience finds business school
Leadership must create the right culture for organisations to be customer centric, says Professor Moira Clark, Director of the Henley Centre for Customer Management. Professor Clark, speaking at the Executive Leaders Network CMO gathering in Reading described the importance of all members of the organisation being measured and involved in the creation of a customer centric organisation.
Based at the well known Henley Business School, the Henley Centre for Customer Management aims to bring marketing practitioners, experts and academics to develop customer management skills through workshops and research.
"We know if you are customer centric you have better retention and those customers will pay more," Clark told Executive Leaders Network attendees. "Employees in customer centric organisations are motivated and our research shows you get an improved culture and climate and then your products and services get an improved differentiation. It's about making sure everybody is obsessed with the customer and getting good insight," she said.
In the research that the professor led Henley Centre for Customer Management found that values were key to organisations being customer centric. "Values and behaviour are vital. They can be seen as a corporate exercise, they in truth they are about the culture. The values are about what behaviours we expect and the good firms keep it really simple."
Alongside values Professor Clark says an organisation can only be customer centric if it has a great insight into the customer.
"You have to get really good customer insight and design your customer experience from the customer's point of view," Clark says. The research by the Henley Centre for Customer Management finds that how organisations measure their customer interactions is also important.
"Don't measure by averages, you have to look at the whole team, from the top to the bottom," he said.
Professor Clark advises technology marketers to study organisations with a great customer centric approach and she highlights the conglomerate 3M.
"3M has a great set of behaviours they define as: be honest, be good, be loyal and be accurate. The behaviours you enact make a big difference. While housing organisation Bromford have just four: be different, be commercial, be brave and be good." Clark went on to describe how US retailer Zappos offers its new recruits $1000 to leave when they have completed their training, the concept being that the organisation only wants people who want to work for more than money. In the technology sector, Professor Clark says cloud hosting firm Rackspace has a customer focus organisations should aspire to.
"Leadership and strategic alignment are key as you have be aligned and involved in the customer insight and the customer perception," Clark said. The research by Henley Centre for Customer Management found that just a third top teams are aligned on the customer centric approach and that over half (57%) of employees are not aligned with the business mission statement and the research finds the reason for this is because the mission statement doesn't "speak to them".
"Engage the back office, finance are core to the customer," Clark advises. "61% of employees don't know what the mission statement is and 60% don't know the purpose of the business," Clark said their research finds.