Creating a customer-obsessed culture requires strong leadership and one of the very best exponents of the practice is Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
Even though Amazon now employs more than half a million employees and serves more than 300 million customers, Jeff Bezos personally reads every customer complaint email sent to him. While he does not respond to them personally, he is immersed in them as a way to stay in touch with the reality of what is going on in the business.
We call this, customer immersion, and it is one of the most important activities any CEO can engage in.
So how does he manage the wide range of customer complaints/feedback he receives directly?
He is known to forward the email directly to the leader accountable for that area with a simple “question mark”. The question mark is his short-hand for can you look into this? why is this happening?
Leaders know they are then on the hook to drill into the issue and find out what is happening and resolve it in a systemic manner, ie so it does not occur again!
And this is the crux of what makes a customer-obsessed culture different, leadership takes this seriously and follows through on making the changes necessary so that the source of the complaint is eliminated…. this simply does not happen in most organizations.
This approach gives Bezos a frontline insight into what customers think and experience. It is a huge leadership advantage as he can maintain a pulse on what is actually going on across Amazon’s massive and complex business.
In this great article by Julie Bort, Jeff explains:
“The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right. There’s something wrong with the way you are measuring it.”
For 10 years MarketCulture has helped leaders around the world understand how to engage employees in building a customer-obsessed culture. The MRI Assessment provides valuable feedback to leaders they can act on to enable employees to deliver great customer experiences.
MarketCulture has proven scientifically that a stronger customer culture will drive increased business performance through retention of customers and increased advocacy.
Contact us now to find out how we can help your company become customer obsessed.
Posted in CEOs, Change Leadership, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Centric Values, Customer Communications, Customer Insight, Customer-Centricity, Customer-Obsessed Culture, Empathy, Uncategorized, Voice of the Customer
Tagged amazon, Customer Centric Leadership, customer culture, customer immersion, jeff bezos, Voice of the Customer
Making pizzas seems like a simple business. After all its been happening for centuries and it seems like almost anyone can do it. But to make a sustainable business out of it and maintain an appealing brand in today’s competitive world requires a customer centric leadership mindset.
A starting point for Domino’s change from an ailing pizza maker in 2010 to a growing food business was a leadership change. Patrick Doyle became CEO in 2010 after Domino’s had experienced several years of stagnating business and declining share price. Doyle realized that he could only revamp the business if he could lead and create a mindset change in staff – a change from an “omission bias” where people worry more about doing something different than no change and “loss aversion” where the focus is on not losing rather than winning. I remember the great American motivational writer and speaker Zig Ziglar saying “.. the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain”. Doyle realized that playing it safe was the riskiest course of all and he needed to create a mindset in the business that change is a necessity and a learning mentality in which for staff “failure is an option”.
A Customer-Centric Leadership Mindset was Needed to Transform Domino’s Pizzas
The change in Domino’s strategy came with a big picture view and a realization that they were not only in the pizza-making business but also in the pizza-delivery business and how this fundamentally affected the experience of their customers. This meant becoming just as much a tech company as a pizza company to transform the way customers could order and monitor the status of their order using a Domino’s app. Other apps were created to enable customers to provide feedback and become involved in games making ‘virtual’ pizzas.
Staff needed to be open to customer criticism to help them make better pizzas that customers would love eating as well as keeping them warm enough by the time of delivery. So Domino’s took on board customer views of how bad the pizzas were and suggestions on what to do to improve them.
Customers’ frank views were aired in advertising and social media and created a transparency and honesty that enhanced brand trust. Domino’s used staff in ads to describe how they had changed recipes and ingredients to make better tasting products. The company created a delivery car with one seat and a warming oven for up to 80 pizzas. It modernized its image to create more of a sense of style and a sense of humor. All of these things were needed for success. Here is 4 minute video describing what they did:
But the foundation for creating this change to a more agile, customer-responsive business came from the customer mindset brought by the new leader and embedded in the business in a way that enabled them to change and transform. As one senior leader told me recently it is the focus on the customer and their changing needs that is the motivator for leaders and staff to change!
Domino’s business results prove the point. Today, it is the second-largest pizza chain in the world, with more than 12,500 locations in more than 80 countries, and up from a share price of around $8 in 2010 to one of $215 in June 2017.
Learn more about what a customer centric culture and mindset are by reading our book, the Customer Culture Imperative.
Posted in C-Level Quotes on MarketCulture, Case Study, CEOs, Change Leadership, Competitor Insight, Customer Centric Values, Customer Experience, customer focus, Honesty, transparency, Trust, Voice of the Customer
Tagged customer centric leadership, customer culture, dominos pizza, Patrick Doyle
For those of you familiar with our work you will know that we successfully validated the link between a customer centric culture and new product success. Our chart below shows the links between our 8 dimensions of a customer centric culture and the key business performance outcomes.
Essentially organizations that develop a cultural focus that is obsessed with customers, outperform everyone else in the markets in which they play.
I just came across a great example of how this can work in reverse for a company that has not developed a customer culture – Comcast Cable.
Comcast recently announced a major new product – they are now a cell phone provider in the US market:
Here is the reaction I found in some comments people who saw this announcement on LinkedIn (the majority of the comments were along the same line….):
This is of course only anecdotal evidence, however, it is going to make it tough to make this product launch a success with an undercurrent of negative feelings towards the experiences many customers have had with the brand in the past….
How you treat your current customers today will have a massive impact on how they will respond to new product introductions in the future.
Build your company’s customer culture today to ensure you continue to be successful in the future. Learn more in the Customer Culture Imperative, our award winning book.
Posted in Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Centric Values, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, Market Culture Inaction, Trust, Uncategorized, Voice of the Customer
Tagged Comcast, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Insight, new product success
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus 500BC
It’s hard to believe this quote is from more than 2000 years ago… I can’t think of a more relevant quote to describe the times we are living in right now!
From a business context the change we are experiencing is the rapid shifts occurring in customer expectations and behavior. The companies that are embracing this are the ones that are winning and will continue to win in the future.
The question is how do we adapt to this changing customer environment, stay ahead and stay relevant?
Many forward thinking organizations are using increasingly sophisticated customer experience metrics to stay in touch with what their existing customers are experiencing. Specifically they have embedded these processes in a manner that makes it part of their organizational culture – we call this a “Customer Culture”. A great example comes from the work being done at Macquarie Telecom, a leading Telecommunications firm in Australia.
Macquarie’s CEO, David Tudehope, has taken a personal interest in leveraging the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology to help drive a customer centric culture. NPS is essentially a simple way to measure customer advocacy. It is based on answering the question – “How likely are you to recommend us?” on a 0-10 point scale. While a great methodology, it is not the right one for every business. What’s more important than the metric is the fact there is a focal point at which all employees can focus on and work together to improve.
For Macquarie, leveraging this methodology has been transformational. It has raised the visibility of the importance of customer experience on customer retention and ultimately business performance. It has also served as a goal that aligns everyone and drives collaboration across the firm.
What have Macquarie learned from their transformational journey that you can apply in your organization?
- Engage everyone in the journey – measure every significant touch-point as everyone has an impact on how customer’s experience the company
- Be Transparent – display results for everyone to see so teams can see how others are performing and compare results
- Celebrate individuals and teams – share great customer stories and celebrate teams with high NPS scores
- Integrate into hiring processes – hire people with a desire to create great experiences for others
- Customer Success gives employees meaning and purpose – connecting people’s roles with the impact they have on customers provides meaning, inspiration and purpose and will derive up engagement levels and ultimately people’s performance
What are the results?
Macquarie’s NPS is 60+ which means they have many more promoters than detractors (see this post to compare Macquarie’s NPS with the most customer centric companies in the world). While they are not the best in the world (they can still improve), they significantly outperform their competitors in the space they play in.
To read more about how to begin the journey to a customer centric culture, get a copy of our book, the Customer Culture Imperative or learn about the Market Responsiveness Index.
Posted in Case Study, CEOs, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, Voice of the Customer
Tagged Customer Centric Culture, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, david tudehope, macquarie telecom, net promoter score, nps
Love him or loath him, one thing seems certain. Donald Trump understood the perceived needs of the middle-American “working class” and their real needs for a bigger share of America’s wealth. In business we refer to them as disenfranchised customers. In this case it was a huge proportion of the electorate that felt abandoned and had lost hope of achieving “the American Dream”.
The decisive power of a customer centric sales approach is on show here. He had the odds stacked against him – the media, the Republican party leaders, less resources than his competitor, a perceived lack of authenticity, a flawed character on show for all to see, a dubious business track record and inconsistency in his views. Any independent marketing observer would say the Trump brand was tarnished. Yet he prevailed.
Why? He listened to Americans, understood their anger and concerns and revived their aspirations. He understood how to communicate to them in a way they could understand and he effectively used fear as a motivator for action – in this case bringing them to the polls to vote for him. He used the old maxim – “the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain”. It demonstrates that if you can tap into real needs and create an emotional connection that demands action you can create a following and eventually loyalty irrespective of flaws or weaknesses in your product. Such is the power of a customer-centric mindset. We might say customer centricity “trumps” strategy and superior resources.
Donald Trump has done the first bit of being customer-centric – creating perceived value in the minds of enough Americans to deliver him the presidency. Now he has to deliver the promise.
How he does that will require strong customer-centric leadership – ongoing insight and foresight and a team that has the mindset, capabilities and strategy with an alignment with the external environment that delivers value to middle-Americans. He will need to be consistent in his communication, be prepared to act on feedback that may differ from his own views and implement policies that will deliver on his promise. He will need to do even more than that – demonstrate his authenticity as a leader who really cares more for the American people than himself and demonstrate a character that commands respect and even admiration.
If he cannot do that he will be a one-term president.
Many senior leaders are like Donald Trump. They talk the talk and communicate great promise to their employees and their customers. But a majority of them do not display customer-centric leadership, do not walk the walk and don’t demonstrate they are in it for the long term value for delivery of value to their customers, employees and community before rewarding themselves. Those leaders are transitory, do not leave a legacy and often create chaos for all around them.
If you want to know more about customer-centric leadership contact MarketCulture and read The Customer Culture Imperative.