If Companies Need to Prioritize Customers, They Need to Begin with Their Employees

What is the best yardstick for a company’s success — Inside-Out or Outside-In approach? Scriptura Engage puts it this way: Inside-Out organizations banks on systems and processes with the company in mind, while the Outside-In mindset sees prioritizing the customer’s perspective as the path to true success.

To elaborate, Inside-Out thinking may lead to a focus on efficiency and cost-cutting measures but it may not align with the customer’s needs and wants. This can lead to decreased customer satisfaction and a loss of market share.

The Outside-In approach is quite positive overall. It emphasizes the importance of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and creating a competitive advantage by delivering superior products, services, and experiences. 

This is because businesses can better differentiate themselves from their competitors and ultimately increase shareholder value if they focus on customers.

In today’s business landscape, the Outside-In approach is becoming increasingly important as customers become more empowered and have higher expectations for the companies they do business with. By prioritizing the customer’s perspective, businesses realize that they can create sustainable competitive advantages and long-term success.

Customer-centricity models

PwC has, for its part, identified its own Outside-in approach — what it calls customer-centricity models: innovation, consistency, empowerment, intimacy, and purpose.

  1. Innovation: Companies using the innovation model want customers to feel as if they’re ahead of the curve. The dominant cultural trait at innovation-focused companies is a higher tolerance for risk, along with the celebration of “fast failures.”
  2. Consistency: Companies with a consistency-oriented model focus on giving customers a reliable, predictable experience. The culture traits at these companies involve avoiding risk and adhering to established processes and formal chains of command.
  3. Empowerment: The empowerment model emphasizes making customers feel cared for. The culture reinforces giving frontline employees a wide breadth of knowledge about the company’s offerings and ensuring that employees have the autonomy to solve customer problems in the way they see fit.
  4. Intimacy: The intimacy model makes customers feel special; companies using it are organized around tailoring products and services to customers’ unique needs. Many companies with an intimacy-oriented culture establish small dedicated employee teams so that customers always interact with the same team, to create a deeper relationship over time.
  5. Purpose: The purpose model of customer-centricity focuses on sharing communal values so that customers feel influenced and motivated beyond a mere transaction. The company culture that supports this model is characterized by deep pride in the legacy of the organization, and it emphasizes emotion over traditional measures of performance.

However, companies can use more than one model at the same time. They need to be thoughtful in their combinations, particularly when the employee behaviors that underpin each model are in tension with one another.

Customer-focused communication

Some tips for creating a customer-focused communication process include assigning ownership of all communications to a cross-functional team to ensure customer focus and avoid organizational silos.

Listening to customer feedback at every touchpoint to understand their needs and preferences is good and so is using this feedback to improve the customer experience.

Creating a customer journey map is also ideal, as this includes all touchpoints and involves the customer in the process to get their feedback. It’s also imperative to exceed customer expectations at every interaction by choosing the best channel for each message and making changes quickly based on feedback. 

This empowers business users to make changes to communications without IT involvement, which will lead to faster changes and improved customer experience.

For all this to work leadership and commitment must go hand in hand with the way companies reach out to different cultures. 

Customer satisfaction applies to employees

In the world of business, customer satisfaction is crucial for success. To achieve this, companies need to put their customers at the center of everything they do — even with their own employees: their first customers. But how can they do that? Here are some key elements:

First, a company must clearly communicate and live by their mission, vision, purpose, and brand promise, because by doing so, they can have these championed by their own employees.  

Second, employees play a vital role in delivering a great customer experience. To prioritize employee experience, companies should acknowledge their contribution and make sure they are engaged and aligned with the company’s goals.

Third, understanding customers is essential to deliver a personalized experience. By listening to their needs, developing personas, and mapping customer journeys, companies can gain insights to inform their decisions and actions — yes, from both employees and customers.

Fourth, a governance structure with defined roles and responsibilities is crucial for effective execution of the customer-centric strategy. Change agents and change management are also essential elements to ensure successful implementation.

Finally, organizational adoption and alignment require employees to understand the strategy, be involved in decision-making, and committed to making it happen. Without this, attempts to execute the strategy will be futile.

For a company to succeed, it needs to focus on both customers and employees, and put them at the center of everything that you as a global mobility specialist should be doing as well for your own customers — companies and their respective employees.cialist should be doing as well for your own customers — companies and their respective employees.