“Despite the marketing rhetoric and self proclamations of being customer focused, most companies are product centric, not customer centric. Calling yourself customer centric doesn’t make it so.” — Chuck Schaeffer, Vantive Media CEO
So, we ask you — as a CEO or C-suite executive — is your organization customer-centric?
How do you know? How can you tell? You may be able to answer that by asking yourself just one more question…
How often do you, your leaders and your employees share real customer experience stories in daily conversations?
Why is that the question to ask? Because, C-suite executives who are serious about customer-centricity are making the intentional decision to elevate and activate Voice of the Customer in their companies and cultures. How are they doing this? Well, one thing they commit to is … storytelling. That’s right. From executive-level decision-making discussions to day-to-day frontline employee conversations — real customer experience stories are omnipresent and shared on a consistent basis.
Think about your company and your culture. How often are real customer stories shared?
Are customer experience stories present in daily conversations across your business? Do they play a role in strategic and tactical decisions? Or are most of these conversations and decisions internally focused? Operational or product-driven? This simple gut check will tell you if you and your executive team are serious about Voice of the Customer. It will also help you understand if you are fully utilizing the power and influence real customer stories can have in your culture … your customer experience … and on business performance.
Why do leading companies ensure real customer experience stories are omnipresent?
Because, what goes unmentioned … is quickly forgotten. So, if you’re not talking about the customer consistently — how can you really be a customer-centric organization? And the best way to elevate the Voice of the Customer is through real customer experience stories.
When most executives think of customer stories, they think of case studies. But case studies are not stories. They are simply a documented set of facts.
Stories are emotional. Stories bring real-world actions and outcomes to life. And most importantly, there is a moral (lesson learned) to every story. That’s why customer stories play such a significant role in customer-centric cultures and companies.
The bottom-line impact of customer stories.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Research shows that end users (customers) … who benefit from a company’s products and services — are surprisingly effective in motivating employees to work harder, smarter, and more productively.” Another study showed that the simple act of sharing a story about how an employee impacted a customer’s life can reinforce one’s conviction about their purpose.
The fact is, when employees know their behaviors and actions matter and make a difference in the customer experience — they truly care. The article went on to say, “When employees share their stories about experiences with customers, they create a channel of mutual inspiration.”
Simply put, elevating Voice of the Customer through real customer experience stories impacts organizational performance, and ultimately … your bottom line.
As a C-suite executive, you can preach all day about the critical impact employee decisions and actions have on the customer, but often this goes in one ear and out the other. Executives can talk about how the company is making a difference in the world, but without real stories that illustrate the impact the company is having on customer lives … the message falls flat.
What are you doing to elevate and activate real customer experience stories across your company?
If your answer is not much or nothing at all — that needs to change. Make this the year you leverage the power of customer stories to improve organizational clarity, alignment and performance.