Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru
“The customer experience is not a buzz word or a project. It’s a culture, an all-in strategy. Leaders know this. Leaders set the momentum.” – Cannon Johnson.
Tough global competition has forced companies to rethink their strategies and come up with innovative and different ways to manage their customer portfolios, along with looking to improve service interaction. To survive in this fiercely competitive world, organisations are prioritising customer experience, which is clearly becoming increasingly important and is the only differentiator between brands today. It’s time that companies make delivering awesome customer experience their number one priority. If they don’t, then customers – potential and existing – will not think twice before moving on to the competition. Hence, it is imperative that organisations become customer-centric and more importantly, hire leaders with a clear customer-centric vision.
So, what makes a successful customer centric leader? Lets find out. A successful customer centric leader is one who effectively guides his employees to deliver exceptional customer experience. While this sounds easy, it is no easy job! Making an organization customer-centric requires changing the internal and external processes, standardizing metrics and bringing about a change in the thinking of all employees across the length and breadth of the organization. Apart from creating new strategies, it also requires that these strategies are executed successfully!
Let’s look at 4 must-have traits that customer centric leaders should possess to drive an organisation into a customer-centric future:
1. They set clear and defined goals
If something can’t be measured, it can’t be achieved! Customer centric leaders are certain about the objectives and goals of the strategies they are creating. Apart from this, they review the goals of every service employee and ascertain how far off the baseline everyone is. Their strategies are sturdy and start with the customer. They aim to standardize regular processes to make them more customer-centric and easy for the customer. Instead of micro-managing, such leaders empower their employees and let them own problems and find the best possible solution.
Such leaders also lead with a purpose. They understand that customer experience is not a single department – it must be ingrained in the culture of the organization. They align every single employee of the organization to their customer centric ideas.
2. They understand the importance of employee engagement
Such leaders understand that engaged employees will lead to engaged customers. They understand that employees need to be trained to achieve the service standards required by the company and need to be empowered to provide excellent service. But only coaching the employees won’t do! They also successfully create a culture where employees feel empowered, appreciated and loved, ensuring that the customers feel likewise.
These leaders strive to create an environment where the employee is proud of himself and champions the idea of putting the customer first.
3. They encourage and reward innovation
Such leaders understand that employees are the ones facing the customer and they’d be the best ones to build newer, effective processes. They listen to the employees and build a healthy culture where best practices are shared.
They ensure that exceptional service levels are encouraged and rewarded. This will help raise service standards and the employees will feel the need to outperform their colleagues, encouraging healthy competition and creating an environment of passion and positive energy.
4. They hire a mix of talent
Once the strategies are set, such leaders ensure that they hire a good mix of experience and enthusiasm. It is but obvious that every job profile has basic minimum prerequisites but such leaders hire a bunch that will not only create a dynamic and positive but also a result-oriented, customer-passionate team!
The above are a few pointers that customer centric leaders must possess in order to build an organisation that truly wows its customers. Are there any other qualities that such a leader must possess? Please do share your thoughts and views!