How to achieve customer-centricity across your organisation

Pitney Bowes Software VP of customer experience talks about how the software vendor is generating hard ROI from its customer insights efforts

Fostering a customer-centric culture begins with the CEO and should penetrate every staff member’s performance goals whether you’re a B2C or B2B focused organisation, according to one customer expert.

Vice-president of customer experience at Pitney Bowes, Gael Lundeen, leads the software vendor’s dedicated customer experience department, which was established five years ago as a way of fostering specific skills and providing guidance to the rest of the organisation. Its work and metrics stretch across every customer touchpoint, ranging from website portals and call centres to product development.

Pitney Bowes was recently recognised for its measurement of customer experience programs in Forrester Research’s first Outside In Awards, which looked at excellence across planning, creating and managing great customer experiences.

According to the research firm, the six key disciplines in achieving a strong customer approach are corporate strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance and a customer-centric culture.

Lundeen said Pitney Bowes’ ability to include and convert customer practice into actions, as well as apply a measurement ecosystem company-wide, has been crucial to growth. One key decision has been to ensure every staff member has performance goals that relate directly to customer experience and are measured in their annual review.

“Some struggled with that and how their role impacts products, services and so on, but it was a pivotal moment for us,” she said.

“This focus on the voice of the customer gives us breadth across the organisation so people at all levels can see how they are doing in their piece of the customer experience pie. We provide a lot of feedback… and this makes the organisation much more focused on what our clients think.”

The whole organisation needs to buy into customer experience, starting with the CEO, Lundeen continued.

“Within our ecosystem, improving customer loyalty and retention cascades from the top down. For example, we look at the call centre agents and whether they achieved a resolution within the first call and the customer was happy, which then amalgamates up to metrics at the top like net promoter scores.

“You also want to get customer centricity as part of your strategy and orientation, so companies make hiring decisions based on people with customer skills.”

With commoditisation of so many goods and services, and the digital economy putting the customer’s views front and centre, Lundeen also believed products are not the competitive differentiator for many organisations today. Instead, relationships are the best way to drive sales. Those who can recognise, improve and measure customer experience will find a clear cut ROI at the end of the tunnel, she added.

“You can find the value in retained customers, incremental revenues, and achieve higher success rates with new products,” she said. “Another ROI is that it helps lower costs across support channels.”

For Lundeen, an important way of gauging and managing customer experience is through both transactional and relational surveys. While transactional information mobilises the front-line workforce facing customers on a daily basis, relational surveys can highlight things like product support and ease of use, and provide a better view of the organisation as a partner and supplier.

“This information helps at a higher level to be a strategic and trusted partner,” she said. “One thing I would say is a customer who answers a survey is beginning a dialogue with you. You need to have the utmost respect for their view and feedback on what you are doing, and act on that advice.”

If companies are struggling to improve customer experience, it’s usually because they haven’t figured out the business impact of retaining customers or those who buy more, Lundeen said. She also claimed another challenge is that today’s management workforce often hasn’t been trained in balancing operational focus with delivering customer experience.

“These two factors can cause friction with each other. Yet if you can meet the customer experience expectations, then you won’t have to deal with issues like missing delivery targets,” she pointed out.

While agreeing consumer-focused companies like Disney, Starbucks and Apple have traditionally been better at recognising the “people attributes” of their brands, Lundeen also dismissed the idea that this wasn’t as important for B2B organisations too.

“B2B customers have emotional needs too,” she said. “They want to be successful in their jobs, and their relationship with a vendor needs to be about the products and services that are easy to use, add value, and make them more successful. Those are real needs that need to be addressed. I have never bought into B2B being about pure fact-based selling.”

Data is another crucial factor in customer experience and helps organisations understand what’s not only important, but true. However, Lundeen saw value in allowing staff to hear customers express their views verbatim.

“The way they express their frustration and delight often cuts through and it helps to hear what’s happening in a customer’s own voice,” she said. “We do a lot of qualitative and quantitative feedback to gauge this.”

More on leadership and customer experience

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

10 ways of changing your culture through self-awareness

Did you hear about the manager who always shot the messenger whenever they brought bad news? He eventually stopped hearing bad news. Unfortunately for him, this wasn’t because there was none to report.

Steve Glaveski

Co-founder, Collective Campus

How to create a compelling customer experience vision

Organisations are seeking new ways to engage customers, drive new sales and increase customer satisfaction by providing engaging customer experiences. A customer experience initiative that lacks a strong, clear vision often fails to achieve its intended result.

Olive Huang

Research director, Gartner

Marketers are driving our innovation ecosystem

The Government's newly released National Innovation and Science Agenda shows that for economic growth to continue within Australia, an 'innovation ecosystem' must be fostered, where new businesses with new ideas are encouraged to grow and flourish. With every company wanting to increase, retain or improve their customers’ experiences, this makes marketing vital to fuelling Australia's ideas boom.

Lee Tonitto

CEO, Australian Marketing Institute

Agreed. I see the opposite problem quite often where people are tasked in an organisation just with "be creative" - thus offering no boun...

Dr Fiona Kerr

The great debate: Is data killing creativity?

Read more

By far, this is the best article I've come across so far that has a relevant information regarding the future of marketing. Although the ...

Jayden Chu

​Six ways to prepare for the future of digital marketing

Read more

These are some good ideas. You didn't touch on the overarching goals and results of brand loyalty. This article does a good job at provid...

hgsupport

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

This read like a PR PLUG for the agency. Very flowery language for the agency and very little details about the deal or the project.

Digital_Marketer

Why Tourism Victoria decided to go agile

Read more

This is a rather useful article! This prediction made in the digital marketing trend is very important to improve the service that the ag...

Adam Way

Digital marketing predictions – Part 2: Getting the strategy right

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in