Have the first six months of 2016 met your expectations? Have you hit the goals you set for your team, department, or company as a whole? If you haven’t seen  the results you were planning for, consider how your company culture, customer obsession, and customer experiences may be impacting your bottom line.

Chris Rainey

Culture Is Critical

Your company’s culture impacts every part of how you do business and most importantly the relationship you have with your customers. If everyone within your organization isn’t on the same page—with the same values, purpose, and vision—you won’t achieve everything you want to.

Culture drives innovation based on your customers’ needs. Culture pushes every department, team, policy, and process toward the goal of becoming a customer-obsessed operation. Leaders must be committed to cultivating a culture of change and not get stuck in the age-old trap of “that’s-the-waywe’ve- always-done-it.”

If you aren’t building a culture that’s regularly reviewing your approach to serving customers, you’ll be left behind. Your culture must create a company that’s positioned to market, communicate, sell, and serve your customers where they are today, not where they were last month or last year.

Customer Experience

The customer experience isn’t just about the end consumer. The customer experience involves every customer interaction and experience along the way: consumer to retailer, retailer to vendor, vendor to manufacturer.

Forrester recently published a report that said, “Customers expect to be treated as individuals in their moment of need. They expect that each encounter will be informed and enriched by current and accurate information about their accounts, history, and preferences.

They will reward companies that can anticipate their personal needs and wants—and punish those that clumsily have to relearn basic customer details at each encounter. In 2016, the level and quality of personalized experiences will be a key determinant in who wins mindshare and share of wallet.”

The expectation will increase for immediate access and information between customer and business. If I’m on my phone (talking, through an app, on a mobile browser) or sitting in front of my computer, I want the ability to get what I want through that device. From human interactions to digital touchpoints, customers expect an incredible experience.

Customer Advocacy

When you become focused and intentionally obsessed with serving your customers, you’ll give them a reason to become your advocate. There’s nothing more powerful than word-of- mouth or referral marketing.

According to Nielsen, 84 percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products— making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness.

Customers love to share their experiences through social media, and their opinions hold a lot of weight. Vision Critical says, “43 percent of social media users report buying a product after sharing or favoriting it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Over half of purchases inspired by social media sharing occur within one week of sharing or favoriting, and 80 percent of purchases resulting from social media shares occur within three weeks of sharing.”

Your customers are the most valuable marketing assets you have. The more reasons you can give them to recommend your products and services the better. And when you compare word-of-mouth marketing to traditional advertising tactics, it’s an extremely low-cost channel.

According to research conducted by Software Advice more than 50 percent of respondents are likely to give a referral if offered a direct incentive, social recognition, or access to an exclusive loyalty program.

Key Takeaways

1. Don’t neglect your culture. Make sure your customers are the focus from the top to the bottom and from the inside to the outside of your company.

2. Look for any opportunity to personalize customer experiences. Make it as customized and personalized as you can, as often as you can.

3. Be so obsessed with creating incredible experiences that customers become your advocates.