Customer Centricity


It’s easy to find stories of exceptional customer service. There are many websites and social networking groups dedicated to them. I’ve read a lot of them. Some make you smile or laugh. The best ones make you cry.

One of the common themes in these stories, and the reason they trigger emotions in you, is that they tell a tale about one person meeting the emotional needs of another. Oftentimes the person providing the service does not even realize they are doing this. At an individual level their actions are driven simply because their principles include putting value in the well-being of others.

These people feel empowered to reflect these principles in their work because the culture, purpose, and principles of the organization that they work for encourages it.


In your relationship with customers, they hold all the power. Accept it. Customer decisions drive your success. They decide what to buy, when to buy it, and who to buy it from. To a degree, their perceived needs drive the what and when, but it is customer emotions that are the major factor in deciding who.

Trust is key in your relationship with your customers. It is a trigger for positive emotions. Trust consists of three key elements: value, respect, and connection.

Customers not only want value for money, but to feel valued.

They not only want you to respect their needs and requests, but to feel respected.

They are people, and people need to feel connected.

If you can value, respect, and connect with your customers on their terms, in their networks, you build trust. Customer trust enables you to influence the what and when, and drives repeat business.

On the topic of influence, every single customer interaction with your organization will influence the level of value, respect, and connection they feel. The people that service these interactions, and the people that service those people in non customer facing roles, all need to share the same understanding of these principles.

Customer centric cultures begin with your organizational purpose, or shared vision. They continue to be reflected in your organizational principles. Customer relationships, like any relationship are built on emotion. You can’t fake emotion. If the customer centricity included in your purpose and principles is not genuine, your customers and your people will both know it.

insights & further reading

“89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience”1

“Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers”2

“Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-95%”3

“a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%”3


Examine your shared vision. Does it cover meeting your customer’s emotional needs? It should.

Examine your goals. Do they cover the principles of value, respect, trust? They should.

Go back to the intersection of culture and purpose and review the topics on shared vision and goal setting with this in mind.

Educate your people on the principles of customer centricity via workshops. Repeat this often. There are templates to facilitate this included in the methods & tools section.

Adopt language into everyday communications that reinforces customer centricity.

Empower your people to make decisions to positively influence your customer’s emotions.

Other topics have touched on breaking down organizational barriers. Organizational barriers can stand in the way of customer centricity. Foster open communication between all levels of organizational hierarchy and across organizational silos, and use your transformation team to break barriers.

methods & tools

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