Your customer culture step by step

Being authentic

The notion of customer culture will not resonate the same if you are a customer or a business executive. The brand, the image of the company must be authentic.

The client will demand authenticity, integrity and experience with the brand. While customer culture will take the company to the frontiers of digital and business, forcing it to rethink its organization to put the customer at the center.

By opting for a customer culture strategy, strategic management will take with it employees, customers and suppliers on an experiential journey where each will learn from the other.

Customer experience: brand integrity on display

The client will measure the integrity of the brand and evaluate it in real time. It reverses the relationship between the consumer and the company in a lasting way.

Each customer, or, for the company, each customer segment, will wait for their expectations to be met: the time and effort they spend to get their problems resolved, to listen to their needs …

Starting with Customer!

The customer culture in its implementation must put the customer at the center of all functional processes.

Starting with the customer is therefore a real cultural revolution and a questioning of the organization in its decision-making intelligence.

Customer culture starts with the customer

This means the outright abandonment of the process of sequencing the tasks associated with the company’s production system.

The company’s processes meet the expectations of the customer throughout his journey. The company is inspired by customers to evolve as shown in the diagram below.

Facebook, in its decision to switch all of its employees to telework, its objective is to immerse themselves completely in the world of its users: alone in front of their screen. The company integrates customer culture into its DNA. The internal journey becomes identical to the external customer journey.

Successful customer culture: validating the customer / user journey

In the article Digital tools for effective strategic management, we underline the importance of starting with the customer journey within the company to identify the strengths of the company in its customer relationship.

The customer experience is often limited to isolated initiatives, mainly pure marketing actions. The lack of coordination with the strategic vision of the company and its value chain is counterproductive.

This adds a communication process parallel to existing ones, without questioning internal silos, nor focusing on the company’s strategic vision or the product value generated.

Even more, companies often see new technologies as levers for the development of a successful customer experience, when the latter can in reality only be a support for a more global strategy.

The goal of customer culture is to ensure that all the actual or potential stages through which a customer (or a user) passes throughout their relationship with an organization or a brand are easy to use and respond to the client’s problem. It is in this sense that customer culture creates values.

The Customer Journey and customer culture

The customer journey is the tool used to formalize the response to customer needs throughout the value chain. It has even become the new weapon of strategic management in its variation of web-marketing.

It takes the form of a typical journey that begins with the customer’s formalization of a need and then continues with a passage to action (information search, access to an online service, purchase, etc.). It may also include subsequent steps (use / reuse of the service, request for support, search for advice, additional purchase, etc.) and take place in a physical location and / or through digital channels.

The link between the customer journey and the customer culture only makes sense if all the dysfunctions identified during the journey are resolved, thus making his experience with the brand as fluid as possible.

Customer culture establishes a personal link with its target

To reduce the points of friction, the company will define and segment its targets in order to personalize the link with its customer.

The relevance of a customer journey will therefore be based on the prior identification of targets and associated profiles. Each profile will correspond to a specific customer / user journey grouping together a series of key moments (“Customer journey”).

Strategic management will therefore also have to, within the framework of the establishment of a customer culture, define how far it is ready to go in the name of the “DATA queen”, the basis of the company’s e-reputation. .

Is the objective to meet each need / aspiration expressed in this journey by the customer or to launch a race for the stars?

Race for the stars or customer culture!

The “race for the stars” is the rating given by customers / users on social networks.

The example Airbnb

Airbnb engages owners in a race for the stars to be the best host and thus have more bookings. Originally, the idea of ​​the platform was to occasionally make a room in one’s home available, to welcome visitors and make ends meet. Today it has become a real alternative to the hotel. A simple 4 rating from a passing visitor lowers your rating and, if it is repeated, prevents you from being a great host. The Airbnb platform transforms the user experience initially imagined as “access to a room, everywhere”, to a slow-tourism experience, into “live my life”.

The host gradually transforms his simple welcome in his house into a real customer experience. Will the host decide to bow to the reign of data or will he keep the simple side of his welcome, reserving the use of his house to himself and not to his passing customer. The host will therefore have to decide on the customer culture he will put in place to welcome his visitors, at the risk of not being suitable for everyone, of being poorly rated on the platform. It is up to him to define his target, so that the experience side is maintained to the detriment sometimes of the race for the stars.

Another example of the race for the stars, Uber

At Uber, customer satisfaction transforms the offer into a 5-star race with a driver who asks you: “Put me 5, otherwise I would not have enough races offered by the platform …” The customer can be confused : “I would put 1 because he smokes in his car and puts the radio on full blast, but the poor man will be frowned upon by Uber, and will no longer receive a race”. What a dilemma imposed on the customer!

Customer culture or technology race

Even more, companies often see new technologies as levers for the development of a successful customer experience, when they can in reality only be a support for strategic management.

A real imbalance has emerged in the forces present in this race for the ideal customer experience, with “digital-native” companies on the one hand, and so-called traditional economy companies on the other. Digital natives create value from the customer experience. Traditional businesses create value from the quality produced.

Traditional companies wishing to evolve towards a value produced by the customer experience must therefore revisit their model. To do this, they will review their process as part of the route taken by the customer to contact the company. It is a complete revolution in the vision of the strategic management of the company which underlies the organization of work in the review of all of its production processes. This approach becomes a new weapon of web-marketing and underpins the managerial functioning of what will become a digital factory.

Agile values ​​and UX experience

Agile values ​​promote direct interactions with customers, without intermediaries.

As part of a customer centric approach, or the deployment of an adaptive customer culture, it will therefore be necessary to simplify the organization or build an organic system of autonomous operational units.

The most common drifts are the deployment of Product Owners who are an interface between IT and business lines, with no direct link either with the needs of external customers or with internal needs. The product owner has become a digital profession!

Start with the customer: a real internal revolution

Starting with the customer is a real internal revolution because it requires a review of all information systems (IS), in order to position customer information before production information.

Thus the delay times will no longer be those associated with production delays but with the customer’s waiting time. A late delivery without customer impact has no consequences.

The criteria used to start with the customer:

1 – Criteria that can be fully mastered by the company:

Expectations : does the company meet your expectations?

Resolution : Did the company easily solve your problem?

Customization: does the company meet your specific needs?

Time and Efforts : is it easy for the customer to be in contact with the brand?

Through these 4 criteria, the company will operate a modification of its corporate culture to integrate the customer. We will thus speak of customer culture.

2 – Criteria related to the brand’s e-reputation

Intégrity : does the customer trust the brand?

Empathy: does the company empathize with the customer?

Who are the players in my e-reputation?

  • My clients
  • My collaborators
  • The influencers
  • My competitors
  • My publications

These different components go into the referencing of my site, in its position in the search engines, in the online comparative analyzes, in my local referencing. A bad e-reputation therefore influences my turnover in the long term, since the number of visitors to my portal site is dependent on my referencing.

By interacting and generating common experiences with my clients, I will promote content sharing and thus contribute to my digital visibility. The publications of my company, crossed with those of my clients and then with my employees will boost my digital presence and build my e-reputation.

Discover a marketing definition of client-centric on the Marketing Definitions site.

By creating a customer-centric journey, the company sets up a chain of relationships where:

Integrity will create trust, establish the reliability of the relationship and the authenticity of the speech. The company will then gain reputation and contracts. The company thus establishes a value chain where authenticity is verified from end to end as proposed in the diagram below:

culture client : être authentique. C'est le point d'équilibre de votre réputation et de vos savoir-faire d'entreprise.

Havard Business magazine has chosen this theme for the front page of its October-November 2020 magazine with loyalty, the new customer El Dorado.

What has changed so that the customer is at the heart of the company’s concerns?

In 1999, Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist set out the bases of an alter-globalization economy in her book No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies

This movement began in the 90s by affirming that another world was possible and indicating that a balance could be found between the global economy and respect for all (human rights, nature, citizens…). It invites brands to be responsible for their actions and to change the conditions in which they produce.

With the Internet and social networks, this movement has taken on a considerable scale, shifting the consumer from the tyranny of brands to a reasoned consumer who must be listened to and taken into account, if you want your digital reputation, your e-reputation to be good.

The motivations of strategic management for a customer culture

Being visible has become with the advent of digital a key development axis for companies.

The notoriety of the company, its image, its DNA are exposed over the discussion walls in social networks. Everyone likes to express their point of view, the data circulates freely, without the company being able to really control this information.

The customer culture of the twentieth century oriented product quality is gradually turning towards the quality of data, which is more volatile.

It is a real experience with the brand that the customer expects. The customer exposes himself through the brand and plays with it. In return, he expects the brand to reduce its carbon footprint, do not use service providers and suppliers who hire children, that the products offered are meaningful in line with its / these values. “Just do it”, “because you are worth it”, are a few slogans marking this change which turn the product culture into a customer culture. The customer does not hesitate to give his opinion on everything and is now organizing himself as a regulator to put pressure on the brands and make them evolve towards an eco-responsible economy.

The customer will choose his products based on the authenticity of the brand, the company’s commitments and the behavior of its employees and suppliers all over the world.

The customer becomes a real stake for the company, because he is a key player in its e-reputation. To follow its reputation and the data dispersed on the web, the company must organize itself. Its answer will therefore be, initially, digital (see our articles on digital transformation.)

Isolated attempts are too similar to web marketing campaigns, rarely followed by those who make the company’s digital reputation like: customers, employees, influencers, partners.

Therefore, top management, strategic management must question itself. It is on the organizational level that the company will be able to mobilize all employees, customers and partners. This revolution, also called customer experience, will bring about profound changes in management. (see our articles on strategic management and in particular management and leadership)