Customer-Centric Leadership Traits

In a recent LinkedIn article, author and speaker Don Peppers identified the following six leadership behaviors that enable an organization to better-deliver an engaging customer experience:

  1. Accumulating expertise satisfying customers by attending conferences and training sessions, identifying benchmarks by interacting with customer-centric firms, sharing best practices with other business units or affiliates, and participating in customer-oriented training programs.
  2. Making direct contact with customers, regularly. This might mean attending focus groups and research sessions personally, interviewing customers directly, or mystery shopping their own firm as well as their competitors’ firms. “Leaders committed to delivering a better customer experience can never hear enough voice-of-customer feedback,” Peppers says.
  3. Crossing boundaries to generate enterprise-wide results, thus breaking-down organizational silos, which tend to diminish the customer experience.
  4. Measuring success differently by instituting metrics and reward structures that include things like customer satisfaction and NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys.
  5. Focusing on incremental progress and “Quick Wins.” This might involve accumulating small successes, celebrating them, and building gradual organizational momentum and support for the desired change.
  6. Communicating and living by customer-centric values. In other words, the the executive team must “walk the walk,” and not just just “talk the talk” about delivering a good customer experience. A committed leader finds opportunities to discuss with staff members how the company should treat certain types of customers, perhaps focusing on individual “personas” that represent particular lifestyles, transaction patterns, or just simple demographics. He or she will be committed to transparency and trust with customers, never straying from the “true north” purpose at a customer-centric enterprise, which is to ensure that the organization always acts in the customer’s interest, even when it might not yield the same level of short-term profit.

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