Top Down: On the Joys of Summer, and a Customer-Centric Culture

When Executives Lead by Example, CX Is a Day at the Beach

Around these parts (Northern New Jersey, home to NICE’s North American headquarters), early September is a bittersweet time of year. While some welcome the fall, with its football, foliage and pumpkin spice—or my favorite, Oktoberfest beers!—others are saddened to bid farewell to their summers. When the weather’s right, summer is a blessing. At the end of a long work week, what better way to feel free, and create new memories with friends and family, than to take off for the Shore, stroll the boardwalk, get your toes in the sand and soak up the sun?

In such a setting, there are few slices of Americana more iconic than the image of a convertible, top down, cruising from beach town to beach town, playing the rock and roll sounds of the American beach. (Out West, it’s the Beach Boys; here in Jersey, it’s Bruce Springsteen. With all due respect to Jimmy Buffett’s legions of Parrotheads.) And on a perfect summer day, on the streets of a town like Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights or Asbury Park, life is best lived top down.

Is that a t-shirt? It ought to be. Anyway…

Much like the “summer on the Jersey Shore” experience, something else is best lived “top down”: your customer experience strategy.

Not walking the talk
​Consider these recent findings by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG):

We recently surveyed 45 business executives to understand their firms’ approaches to capturing and using insights into customers. To start, we asked about their top five strategic priorities. “Customer” was by far the most-mentioned word. But many companies are not walking the talk. To be truly customer centric, companies must use customer insights in most major business decisions and core processes, not just customer-facing ones. Our analysis indicates that this is rarely the case.

As I’ve discussed on several occasions previously, developing a customer-centric culture is essential to reaping the long-term benefits of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and ultimately increased revenue via effective customer experience strategies. When an organization lacks the tools it needs to observe the customer journey, isolate pain points, gather (and effectively address) customer feedback, engage via their preferred channels, empower frontline employees to satisfy inquiries and resolve concerns, and deliver a consistent multi-channel experience, lip service to customer-centricity rings hollow. (In a worst-case scenario, it becomes an ironic punchline, dealing a considerable blow to brand reputation.)

Building a customer-centric culture requires buy-in from the executive/c-suite level, from both a “leading by example” perspective and a pocketbook perspective. Without customers, no brand survives, and therefore it is critical for these leaders to demonstrate that every decision be made with the customer’s experience in mind. This includes minimizing roadblocks to the perfect customer experience, and investing in the technologies—and personnel—required of that mission. In addition to spreading the customer-centric “gospel,” executives will also find such tools provide various mechanisms for observing firsthand the results of these efforts in CX.

“Top down” conjures images of a warm day, freedom, and limitless possibilities. Sadly, the weather will soon necessitate insulating ourselves from the elements, but if your organization maintains a “top down” approach to ensuring a customer-centric culture, you’ll find your customer experience efforts to be a day at the beach, all year round.

Watch our on-demand webinar, “The Customer Is Our Lifeblood: Aligning Your Organization Around CX Goals,” and observe the best practices you can deploy to cultivate a customer-centric culture, thus ensuring all personnel are working to achieve the same customer experience goals.