A strong digital identity allows an organisation to be close to its customers across channels, wherever they are, and helps in building long-lasting customer relationships. A digital identity can be developed by understanding the contextual dimensions of a digital experience and using technology to implement the same, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

What makes a customer tick – online or offline, can’t just be defined by ‘digital’ or ‘data’. The perception of customer experience is complex and diverse like human emotions and is impacted not just by organisation as a whole, but also by individual employees. And, a crucial element that most organisations ignore is ‘Culture’.

Digital Culture drives Customer Centricity

Digital culture is a cause célèbre. As more organisations delve into digital transformation and seamless customer experience, they want to ensure that the change sticks but very few think of culture as a means. Long term results can be achieved by instilling a digital customer-centric mindset in employees.

To create a seamless digital customer experience, an organisation should focus on creating a digital customer-centric culture. No one can ignore the famous quote by Pete Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Culture is as important as strategy and impacts the customer experience, as employees who feel important as consumers of an organisation, will treat the customers similarly. The organisational values imbued in employees, impact their behaviour with customers.

Getting your Customer Experience Culture right:

  • Driven by leadership, employees need to want to change: Employee skills directly impact the customer experience at various touch-points and employees need to be engaged so that they want to change and learn. Clear communication of organisational vision and mission from leadership can drive this. Employees need to feel included and be part of change to create a logical, emotional need to want to learn. This way, they learn quicker, retain the new insights and skills for much longer. A win-win situation for organisation, employees and customers.
  • Hypercompetitive cultures hamper customer experience: With fierce internal competition in any culture, it’s challenging to maintain teamwork and that undermines the ability to deliver a great customer experience. Constructive competition can be good to drive positive results but if employees are too competitive, it transcends to customers and the customer experience.
  • Make customer experience a priority. If there are no customers, there is no organisation. Customer experience needs to be given priority for employees across the organisation and if leadership drives this through cultural values, it is more likely that employees at all levels will follow suit.
  • Define customer experience related measures of success: Organisations can establish strong customer relationships, repeat business or engaged customers as measures of success. Changes in corporate culture, such as responding to every customer contact, treating a conversation with a customer as an important activity or acting on feedback can help all organisations achieve these results.

“It’s a culture that’s really customer-driven, where we create a mindset that is obsessed with customers’ pain points” says Janice Semper, GE’s culture transformation leader, on their vision of creating a culture that supports GE’s transition to a digital industrial company. (Digital Transformation Review #10)

Yasir Anwar, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Technology, Macy’s, says that the key to his team’s success is its customer-centricity. They never innovate in isolation without the customer for fear that they will not deliver what will be valued most by customers. He has also re-organised his team to align with the customer journey. Steps like this create the most direct path to a better customer experience. (Forbes)

Digital Culture is a disruptive business phenomenon and breaking the traditional culture paradigm requires different perspectives. However, by implementing the right culture, companies can transform themselves to provide an exceptional digital customer experience.

Read more on how to create a digital culture here.