3 Simple Steps to Creating a Customer Centered Culture!


A Favorite Quote:  “There are three kinds of men,” (the quote uses men, but people also works) ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves!” – Will Rogers

Changing cultures within a company can actually be a daunting task.  In an effort to demystify culture creation, I will break down the 3 most common challenges we’ve seen in the hundreds of companies we’ve worked with over the past nine years.  I’ll further simplify by focusing on the desire of creating a customer centered culture.

It is said that Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch…. so with culture being so important let’s get to it!

1. Diversify your MIND POOL of core talent!

  • Engineers and Scientists should be complemented by sales, marketing and creative types and vice versa.  You want people  who think differently than you do to complement your team. Different thinkers that will challenge the way  are the most important additions you can have on your team. The more you feel you know everything the less you most likely know. (notation: you want challenging the way in a very constructive manner… I will share in a future blog post where challenging can  become destructive)
  • When creating a customer centric culture you need a team that UNDERSTSANDS customers, can talk to them, ask very good questions, learn from them, create a community around your customers engaging them for the long term.  Not all people are comfortable being in the face of customers or around people all day long.  These quiet types serve key roles in the company but must understand the importance of customers.
  • It is important that every individual in your company understand their role with customers.  And every person has a role.
  • The MIND POOL must have people that can LISTEN and ACT on what is learned from talking to customers. Translation of what customers say into what your company can deliver is a very skilled art form? Who are those people on your team?
  • Once you’ve translated what they want, who on your team can craft the story that all of the company staff can tell so it is engaging, makes perfect sense and CONNECTS both with the internal team and your potential customers (by market!).

2. Invite your customers to the table often. I mean this literally. In a world where we are talking in 140 characters all day long it is hard to ask deep questions and learn what challenges our customers face on a day to day basis.  Social media and communities are great tools! I believe in these mediums as well.  But face to face meetings, meaningful visits, customer advisory councils, and talking over dinner provides so many benefits and learning opportunities.  Maybe you feel this is not important. I beg to differ! Connecting to customers or potential customers in the deepest ways possible earns a trust that will be hard to beat. How you ask? Because you understand their world much better. You will be able to communicate, consult and create products that answer their needs and wants.

3. Do not ever assume! All markets are different, geographic markets are different, market segments are different. If we assume we’ve talked to three customers from New York City and we want to sell in San Francisco, we should learn about that market and the differences in how they may think, act… buy!  If we want to sell our products to Brazilians or enter the China or Indonesian markets… we must know their culture and work with them on their grounds… we should not assume that someone nodding their head in India means they agree and love us. It may be a respectful way to say they hear what you are saying.  Build a culture of understanding deeply, not assuming you understand.

More to explore