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Taking a Customer-Centric Approach to Running Your Business

It’s more than just a buzzword or a banner on your office wall. How do you make your customers the center of your business operations, culture and reason for coming to work each day?

How do you make it your sole focus to anticipate and take care of their needs? How do you create a base of loyal fans who refer you to everyone they know?

Of course, you do need to display your customer-centric core values prominently on your walls and make those values part of your daily vernacular at work.

You also need to immerse those values into your company culture every day. Make those values come to life in the eyes of all employees.

One way to bring the values to life is by tying them to employee performance within your company. Options for marrying performance to a customer-centric value system include:

  • Creating a customer survey process and inviting customers to review employees based on a number of metrics (all tied to your customer-centric core values);
  • Create a “living the values” award and ask employees to vote for their peers;
  • Develop a “secret shopper” system to periodically test employee responses to typical customer requests;
  • Build the customer-centric core values into each employee’s annual review rating guide.
  • Another key means to bring those customer-centric values to life is to lead by example, such as:

    • Make the values at least a small portion of every single internal meeting in your company;
    • Follow the customer-centric approach you’ve created—for your external customers and internal customers (aka employees);
    • Make yourself available and approachable any time an employee has a question related to the core values;
    • Create a “daily devotional” core value email to hit employee inboxes at the start of each work day;
    • Communicate best-practice examples when you see other employees “living the values” during their daily jobs;
    • Offer constructive feedback when you see opportunities for employees to improve on their customer-centric approach.

    Additionally, research shows time and time again that employees stay in jobs where they feel connected, valued and engaged in meaningful work.

    Breathing life into customer-centric values, along with the tips offered above, offer employees that chance to feel like they belong. Research also shows that happy employees provide the very best customer service.

    So, remember that your customer-centric core values statements are just that—words—until you bring them to life with action.

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