Ensure success through meaningful customer culture

Dec 19, 2018 / by Vili Nieminen

The third and final blog of the series builds on the link of employee and customer experience and CX metrics development to emphasise the importance of customer focus in organisational practices and paradigms. 

Over 50% of the world’s population is now considered middle class and can afford some differentiated goods and services.[1] Increasingly, decision criteria for purchases include implicit associations to the good or service, such as brand or purchasing experience, which do not directly relate to consumption but are crucial to perceived value. Organisations and their purposes behind experiences play an ever-larger role when greater percentage of the global population gain purchasing power to make consumption decisions on their personal values.

Most people seek a more meaningful reward than salary from their work, too. This has scientific backing[2] and the rationale is quite straightforward: if one uses roughly half of their waking time on something, it should have an impact. As we discussed in past posts, shifting the business focus from individual tasks to meeting customer needs creates essential activities for success while harmonising interdependent functions. This is as important to individual employee’s well-being as to the organisation’s capability to produce superior customer experiences. Yet, no tools or practices succeed without a strong and holistic customer culture. 


Creating a meaningful customer culture 

Principally, the creation of a purposeful organisation starts from the top. Senior leadership sets the vision, a foundation for culture, and frames of the working environment. The further we go in organisational branches the more managers have responsibility of the daily activities, but the overall organisational “health” and functioning stem from the decisions of higher-ups. Structural choices between values, procedures, recruiting and so forth create a prosperous setting for well-being and performance, or vice versa. 

These choices should cultivate customer-centred culture across functions, and as we know, things must go further than the beautiful slogans in annual reports. Customer-driven metrics and transparency create unified understanding to different organisation levels. The interdependencies bring different teams and business units closer to each other, the customer, and the mission of the organisation. The resulting customer successes should be celebrated around the business. For example, impactful client stories contribute to individual employees’ feelings of togetherness and binds their identities to the purpose of the company. 

Salesforce provides a great example of a customer-dominant culture. The software giant’s leadership is very dedicated to thriving the Ohana identity, Hawaiian tradition of family, and customer success, one of their four core values. The V2MOM (vision, values, methods, obstacles, measures) method ensures that each and everyone in the company understands where they are going and why. As the leader in CRM, Salesforce often goes even a step further and ensures their customer’s customers are prospering. Accountability is held high, and on top of it all, the company has an extensive benevolence program dedicating massive resources for a greater good.[3

Partly due to these kinds of forerunners, the expectations and reality of working life are evolving with a fast pace on a larger scale. What should work and organisations really be like? Remote work is nowadays a well-established norm in many places and especially the millennials are breaking older ways of working. This brings new implications for management and job structure overall. 

Glancing at the prospective future of work 

While we mentioned that more people seek meaning from their work, it is not the only thing demanded from current positions. Increased flexibility, responsibilities, and support are things that almost everyone would like to have more of. Yet, the most important thing is to make jobs more fulfilling, as only 15% of full-time employees report being engaged in their work.[4] Again, leaders and managers must be able to bring customer-derived reasoning to each activity. In addition, personal acknowledgements and trust are elementary but often forgotten fundamentals that will only grow more important. The customer narrative and sense of community are effective here again. 

These fundamentals are especially relevant to many potential trends like the gig economy and self-organisation where people become more fluid between different positions, teams, and tasks. As entities need to be swifter to respond to emerging issues, task forces, independent consultants and the like probably become more common. Increasingly demanding customer requirements may produce even more innovative organisation architectures for greater results. 

In the first blog we established the importance of employees on customer experience and continued how demand-driven metrics can be used as tools to enhance strategic and managerial performance in the second part. It is important to note that the practices should always be supported by collective customer-first paradigms. The cultural notions of working, collaboration, measuring, and decision-making concretises the assessment and actualisation of customer experience throughout the organisation. Senior leadership accounts for the direction which must revolve tightly around the customer, clearly communicated to everyone.

Read rest of the blog series:

  1. From employee and customer connection to value creation
  2. Creating data-driven clarity to customer experience management
  3. Ensure success through meaningful customer culture

[1] Aglionby, J. (2018) “More than half the world's population is now middle class”. Financial Times. [Online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/e3fa475c-c2e9-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89a [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018].
[2] Shea-Van Fossen, R. (2010) “Why we work: An investigation of work meaning through work orientation”. Ph.D, The City University of New York.
[3] Sundberg, J. (n.d.) “How Salesforce Drives Employer Brand Through Culture”. Link Humans. [Online] Available at: https://linkhumans.com/salesforce-employer-culture/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
[4] Gallup, Inc.(2017) “The State of the Global Workplace”. GALLUP PRESS, New York, NY. [Online] Available at: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238079/state-global-workplace-2017.aspx.

Topics: Employee Experience

Vili Nieminen

Written by Vili Nieminen

Vili Nieminen is a customer-oriented business student from Aalto University. In addition to these motifs, he is interested in IT and outdoors exercises.