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3 Must-Dos to Achieve Customer-Centricity

Throughout this year, LANtelligence will be hosting a series of customer experience webinars to share CX knowledge and expertise from the most well-known experts in the industry. As part of the series, I’ll be speaking this Thursday, Feb. 21, with Annette Franz, the founder and CEO of CX Journey, about five ways CX journey mapping can improve customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score results.

In advance of the webinar, Annette shared some of her points of view and her path toward a career in CX.

Annette grew up on a farm and wanted to become a veterinarian, so she was “focused more on animals than on people.” She started her CX career in the early 1990s via a job listing for J.D. Power and Associates. During her work there, she enjoyed helping her clients identify solutions to their problems and improve their businesses. Now Annette owns a boutique consulting firm, CX Journey.

When we asked Annette what motivates her every day, she said she “gets the greatest satisfaction from helping clients help their businesses improve and grow.”

Annette’s focus for the near future is ensuring that companies successfully design and deliver a better customer experience by first having the key, foundational elements in place. First and foremost, there must be CEO and other executive commitment for the work that lies ahead; without that, the transformation journey ends pretty quickly.

Beyond that, there must be a well-defined customer experience vision and strategy; a governance structure to provide guidelines and oversight for the work ahead; a focus on improving the employee experience along with recognition that employees drive the customer experience; and a people-first culture. And finally, companies must take the time to understand both employees and customers, act on what they learn, and embrace outside-in thinking, weaving the customers and their perspectives into all they do.

One thing that Annette would like to see going forward is a closer partnership between the chief customer officer and the chief human resources officer (or whatever their respective titles may be). Without that partnership, it will be hard to drive forward the conversation that employee experience and customer experience go hand in hand.

Another thing that she would like to see is the acknowledgement that “it’s all about the customer.” When customer experience professionals are challenged to show ROI, they need to push back and ask about the mission of the business. Everything a business does -- every investment, every product, every marketing message, every employee d -- is for and about the customer.

Customer understanding is the cornerstone of customer-centricity. To achieve that understanding, customer service leaders must do three things:


  • Listen -- surveys and other listening posts
  • Characterize -- develop customer personas to better understand who the customer is
  • Empathize -- walk in the customers’ shoes to understand their experiences

“Start there. I know that’s a lot, but it’s important. And then, most importantly, do something with what you learn!” says Annette.

Register for the webinar now to get more insight from Annette.