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5 Customer-Centric Attributes To Look For In Your Next Employer

This guest post is written by Ben Motteram, customer service expert and Founder and Principal, CXpert

I don’t think I’m going out on on too much of a limb when I say that everyone wants to help customers achieve their goals. We want to be customer-centric. It makes us feel good when a customer thanks us for our efforts.

So when you’re working in a company that isn’t as customer experience centric as you are, it’s disheartening to say the least. In fact, it can be downright demotivating. I worked for a company that put short term profit ahead of a long term customer relationship once. There was constant pressure to bring new customers in the front door because existing customers were streaming out the back!

We know that 70% of US workers are disengaged. Part of the reason for that is this misalignment in customer service and customer centricity between employees and employers.

After working for the company I referenced above, I quickly came to the realisation that as an employee, I would be most engaged working for an organisation that was as customer-centric as I was. The contact center has to be central, but customer service should be an ingrained part of every employee’s live.

From there, I came up with the following list of attributes to look for in any prospective employer.

1. Has a good reason for being in business

Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, in his 1954 book The Practice of Management said, “There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.”

Essentially, I agree with him. At the same time, to be truly motivated I need to know that I’m working towards a goal that’s higher than just creating customers. I need to know that through the company I work for, I am delivering to a greater benefit to society.

Often you can find this sense of purpose in the company’s vision statement. For example, Pepsico‘s vision statement is, “Committed to achieving business and financial success while leaving a positive imprint on society.” Apple believes (and I love the use of the term “believe”) that it is “on the face of the earth to make great products.”

The key questions to ask yourself are: Is the vision statement authentic? And is it believable?

Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” (I highly recommend watching that video – it was a game changer for me.) Whatever a company’s higher purpose may be, I like to see it communicated far and wide so that customers and employees alike know exactly why the organisation exists.

2. Encourages transparency

Wikipedia defines transparency as implying “openness, communication, and accountability.” As customers, we value transparency. As employees, it’s exactly the same. Transparency builds trust and trust is critical to engagement.

Looking at the three components in the Wikipedia definition, the questions I would have for any prospective employer are:

Openness

  • How accessible is management (for both customers and employees)?
  • How is information shared throughout the company?
  • Is the culture one of sharing or “empire-building?”

Communication

  • How does management communicate with staff?
  • How often does management communicate with staff?
  • Is it a two-way dialogue?

Accountability

  • Is it clear what the overall goal of the company is and the part that all employees play in achieving that goal?
  • Are all employees made aware of their accountability to the company’s major shareholder: its customers?
  • How customer centric are the company’s job descriptions? Does everyone know how they impact the customer experience?

3. Empowers employees

Being empowered means being given the right tools to do my job and having the authority to make decisions for the things I’m accountable for. Without these things, I’m simply not going to be effective.

Read: Customer Success: Discovering the Missing Piece

Companies committed to employee empowerment also “provide more information in greater detail than the average company” which goes to my previous point about transparency.

The contact center has to be incorporating tools and KPIs that put the customer at the center of every action. And employees have to be given the freedom to go off script and take the time to truly help customers, rather than merely attempting to shorten calls.

4. Knows its customers

This may seem obvious, but for a company to be customer-centric, it must understand its customers. The company should know its customers’ goals, journeys, perceptions, and preferences.

Read: Grow Customer Satisfaction by Practicing Respect

When I’m interviewing, I ask if the company:

  • collects, disseminates, acts upon, and closes the loop on customer feedback,
  • uses other data sources (e.g., CRM system and ethnographic studies) to build out the view of the customer,
  • maps the customer journey to understand the determinants of touchpoint experience and where the “Moments of Truth” are, and
  • regularly seeks frontline employee feedback.

If the answer to all these questions is “yes,” the company is well on its way to being a good match.

5. Makes a product that meets actual customer needs

In the book Outside In, Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine of Forrester Research proposed the Customer Experience Pyramid.

The first level of customer experience (what I call “CX hygiene”) is that your product is useful. To know whether a product is useful or not, a company must first know what its customers’ goals are (which goes to Point 4).

If a company is making a product which doesn’t satisfy customer needs, the effort to sell that product is going to be magnified. I’m going to seriously struggle to be engaged and frankly, I’d have serious doubts about the long-term viability of the business.

As you can see, being customer-centric is key to everything in business. It’s what makes an organization viable not only from the customer point of view, but from the employee point of view as well.

Ready to learn more tips on how to improve customer care? Download the free eBook: Counting the Customer: The Complete Guide to Dynamite Customer Care.

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About Ben Motteram, Founder and Principal, CXpert

CXpert is a boutique customer experience consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia that helps businesses improve customer relationships, increase loyalty, and grow by engaging staff and delivering exceptional service. A specialist in aligning companies around the voice of the customer, Ben has worked with some of Australia’s most well-respected brands to improve customer centricity and overall profits. He can be contacted via Twitter at @CXpert, via Facebook at CxpertConsulting or via LinkedIn.

About Glance Networks

Glance helps enterprise organizations create the ultimate customer experience with smart, omni-channel visual engagement solutions based around integrated cobrowse, screen share, and one-way agent video. We are one of the world’s simplest, most reliable and secure platforms that enable companies to see, show and share anything online, creating a frictionless path to great experiences in sales, support and customer service. The result is improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased revenue growth and operational savings. From financial services and healthcare to retail and travel and leisure, even the most advanced technology and SaaS organizations – we transform the customer experience for today’s business. Learn More »

 

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