Customer Centric Employee Engagement

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Organizations that are centered around their customers know that it's not a part-time role.  To truly be customer-centric, everyone company-wide needs to have a deep understanding of the customer's world. And beyond this sharp awareness, everyone needs to be constant in their personal alignment with the customer's world, exemplified by their decision-making and behaviors. Here are some great examples of companies whose customers agree are doing a superior job at being customer-centric.

Customer Centric At Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos once started an executive meeting by announcing that an empty chair at the table represented “the customer”. Throughout the meeting, the executives were compelled to include the customer in their thought process, and to consider their comments’ implications on the customer, as if “he/she” were present. This practice became a habit at Amazon, part of their corporate culture. CTO Werner Vogels explains: “It’s very important to have a culture where everybody understands what the core values of the company are. New starters are often surprised at how important focusing on the customer is to us and how good Amazon is at doing that. … We often have meetings where we start off with a ‘customer voice’ — a success story, even sometimes a negative story, of a customer’s experience of buying on Amazon — and use those stories to drive our services to become better. … We want to be the most customer-centric company on the planet.”  What better way to transform your culture to truly customer-centric ways of thinking and doing, than to invite your customer to attend all your discussions? 
Walk the Talk

At USAA, which provides insurance solely to military families, customer-centricity is built by stepping into their customers’ boots – during new-hire orientation, employees strap-on a military helmet, 65 pound backpack and flk vest, to build empathy for customers.  They read real letters from troops in Iraq, eat a military MRE “meal ready to eat”, and supervisors call them troops and use military time.  As a result, USAA has a long history of topping industry lists for best customer service.

At Zappos, employees are encouraged to do differentiate themselves with customers by doing something a little unconventional and innovative. Their aim is to have an emotional impact on the customer and be viewed as delivering above-average or Wow service.  Work teams participate in the company blog and YouTube videos, and they engage in fun activities outside the workplace on a regular basis as well.

Employee Engagement in Customer Experience StrategySome of these stories are featured in this complimentary white paper: 

Employee Enagement in Customer Experience Management

Contact the author to find out how to customize these tips to your situation.

About Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker, Customer Experience Transformation Strategist, is head of ClearAction, Marketing Operations Partners, and the Marketing Future Forum. She has developed and led customer experience transformation for more than half of her career, as Voice of the Customer Manager, Strategic Information Manager, and Market Research Consultant, and in executive roles such as Head of Corporate Quality and Director of Marketing & Business Development at Fortune 250 companies.

Clients include Accountants Inc, Adecco, Adobe, Allegion, Anritsu, Applied Materials, Bankers Fidelity, Cadence, Cementos Progreso, Cementos Progreso, Cisco, Critical Software, Deltek, Direct General Insurance, FormFactor, Hootsuite, Hospira, Ingersoll Rand, Kaiser Permanente, LexisNexis, Merck, MicroWarehouse, Moo, SHRM, SunPower, Thomson Reuters, Valin, Whataburger, and others.

Lynn is past president of Silicon Valley American Marketing Association and she has taught marketing, advertising and business courses for 5 years at UC Berkeley Extension, Mission College and San Jose State University. Lynn earned psychology and marketing degrees at BYU and an MBA at Vanderbilt University. She is a Certified Marketing Manager, Certified Quality Manager, Certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Practitioner, and Certified Customer Experience Professional.

She is a top-10 CustomerThink author and she has written three handbooks: Metrics You Can Manage For Success, Customer Experience Improvement Momentum, and Innovating Superior Customer Experience. She designed and conducted the world's first global B2B customer experience management practices study for 5 years, and she led the world's first marketing operations practices study.

Lynn's Customer Experience Excellence course was the first to be recognized by CXPA as an Authorized Resource & Training provider for its Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) exam. She has served as a CXPA CX Expert panelist and as a co-chair of numerous CXPA committees.

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