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

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in