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Author: Rose de Fremery

Organizations know they need a robust customer experience strategy to drive long-term growth in the digital age. To successfully implement such a strategy, however, they must create a customer-centric culture—and as with all cultural change, that can be easier said than done.

Prioritizing empathy for the customer across the entire organization can kick-start a customer experience transformation that sets a business apart from its competitors. Here's how.

Why a robust customer experience strategy is critical for business growth

Customers expect an experience that is timely, responsive, personalized and consistent across all channels. Businesses must understand their customers' needs, centering them and even anticipating them as they evolve. Companies that prioritize their customers in this way may enjoy increased customer satisfaction, improved customer retention, enhanced brand advocacy and increased revenue as a result. It is likely for these reasons that Forrester predicts "25% of brands will achieve statistically significant advances in CX quality in 2021."1

Organizations can adopt new technologies to improve the customer experience (CX). For example, integrated contact center solutions deliver seamless omnichannel engagement. However, there's another crucial, more nuanced factor at play when it comes to customer relationships—the human touch. Customers want to feel heard and confident that businesses will listen to their feedback and act on it quickly. Companies that demonstrate their commitment to customer experience transformation by building a customer-centric culture throughout the entire organization gain a competitive edge, moving ever closer to their customers in the process.

Essential elements of a customer-centric culture

To create a customer-centric culture, begin by confirming all stakeholders know the customer experience transformation is a top priority and understand their roles in making that happen. Since empathy informs a high-quality customer experience at every turn, it's essential to have the right talent on board. Make sure your employees feel satisfied with their jobs.

By prioritizing employee engagement as part of an overall strategy to improve customer satisfaction, you can reap multiple business benefits at once. Engaged employees consistently go above and beyond to deliver an excellent customer experience that delights your customers and benefits your bottom line. According to a recent Gallup survey, businesses that have highly engaged units and teams enjoy a 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement, an 18% uptick in sales and a 23% boost in profitability.

You can also place the customer at the center of your culture by continually cultivating customer empathy throughout your organization. For example, you can share customer feedback with your employees and encourage them to put themselves in the customer's shoes, imagining what it felt like to have had that experience and then visualizing what kind of interaction or conversation would have better met the customer's needs. Defining customer-centric performance metrics, such as first-time resolution or quote turnaround time, and measuring progress against them can empower employees to act on the customer feedback received and align teams toward a common goal, honoring your promise to put the customer at the center of everything you do.

How the right CX technology advances a customer-centric culture

The right technology can support you in creating a customer-centric culture, enabling you to realize the full potential of your CX strategy. A cloud-based, robust suite of integrated tools can help you better engage your customers on their preferred channels, providing a consistent and personalized experience across each touchpoint and interaction—ultimately helping to meet and even exceed customer expectations.

For example, contextual responses assisted by artificial intelligence (AI) can keep conversations moving, saving time for customers and freeing up time for employees to address more complex CX challenges. Social and speech analytics can identify customers' needs and gauge their sentiment in near real time, allowing human agents to be more responsive to their concerns and desires in the moment.

These intelligent capabilities can help you predict what your customers will need in the future, allowing you to provide them with the right product or service before they even knew they needed it. This blend of technological sophistication and human thoughtfulness can create meaningful customer relationships that drive long-term business growth.

Customers expect more from brands than ever before, which means creating an exceptional customer experience is a key to success in a digital world. By taking intentional, proactive steps to put the customer front and center, you can make sure customers feel valued and heard. The right CX technology helps you translate this intention into action by providing you with an intimate understanding of what your customers need and providing them with an experience that is tailored to match.

Learn how Verizon's customer experience services can help you deliver a more personalized, on-demand CX.

1Predictions 2021: Trust, Safety, And Inclusion Will Be At The Core Of Customer Experience. David Truog, Forrester, October, 2020.