Dear CEO: Customer Experience Starts With You

Dear CEO e-bookBeing a CEO is not easy. I experience the day to day challenges our own CEO, Dave Crouch, has with running a business, a staff of great folks and making sure customers are satisfied with ten24 Web's services and support.

Thanks to Gini Dietrich over at Spin Sucks and my fellow authors who collaborated on this project, there's an e-book called Dear CEO: Letters to the C-Suite from Experts on Vision, Culture, Community, and Integration that's filled with excellent advice from industry experts on how CEO's can lead the effort in making their organizations better places for both employees and customers. Leadership requires elbow grease; there's no way around it.  The advice in this e-book is insightful. I strongly suggest all CEO's or those who interact with the C-Suite get a copy. I do have about five free copies so here's what I'll do. The first five people who comment on this blog post will get the e-book at no cost! 

Being an integrated marketer, I'm passionate about the customer experience and feel all companies should focus their organizations around customers. That was the driver for my page in the e-book below. Enjoy! You can follow all the great conversations on Twitter here (#DearCEO).


Dear CEO:

Many companies claim to be customer-centric, but their actions aren't consistent with this claim. What does it mean? Customer-centric organizations don't just focus on customer needs, they structure their entire operations around serving customers.

Customer-centric companies such as FedEx, UPS and USAA practice walking in their customers‘ shoes every day, and in return, are some of the most profitable companies in the world. Why? Customers become their strongest advocates, continuously buy their products and services, and have a major competitive advantage. Imagine an organization whose key differentiator is its customers not products.

Trash your current mission statement!
Just wanted to get your attention for a moment. Seriously, is your mission statement just a bunch of words for stakeholders to read, or are you living it? Are your corporate goals and objectives realistic? Most importantly, do your employees understand them? Have you and your team communicated the relevance of your mission to each and every employee in the way he or she understands it?

To be customer-centric, you must first be employee-centric.
If your employees understand your mission and how it applies to them individually, it becomes that much easier for them to know their role and value to the organization. Communicate your mission through the ranks continuously and always encourage feedback. You have to be a great listener. Communication breakdowns in organizations hurt morale big time. Don‘t you want passionate, motivated employees to service customers?

Can your internal systems handle customer interactions?
By internal systems, I‘m not just referring to databases and CRM technology but making sure employees are trained and have the tools they need to successfully interact with customers. Do they have access to relevant data from all customer touch points? What type of data is being collected, and how is it being used? How much of that data is used to improve internal processes or customer experiences? Hopefully you are using this critical data, as nearly one out of every four (24 %) executives said that they seldom or never use customer feedback to change a business process (according to a survey by Market Tools, Inc.) Customer data must be shared across the organization for one view of the customer.

Are you meeting your employees’ and customers’ basic needs? We are all human with basic needs starting with food, shelter and clothing for survival. Customer-centric organizations get to know their customers in great detail to satisfy their needs. One of my favorite examples is from FedEx who identified and created a version of their customers‘ ?basic? needs. Do what they did.

1. Physical needs - Having a package delivered on time
2. Informational needs - Package tracking even if it's on time
3. Emotional needs - Peace of mind package is on its way
4. Spiritual needs - Employees and customers being part of something greater than themselves

Who owns the customer experience in your organization? 
In a customer-centric organization, everyone from the CEO to the receptionist owns the customer experience. Employees in all areas of a customer-centric organization play an integral part. We are all in the customer business. Treat your employees well, and they will treat customers well.

Are you ready for a radical change towards a truly customer-centric organization? I challenge you starting now!"


Anna Barcelos 
Director of Client Solutions 
ten24 Web Solutions 

Comments (10)
On 04/11/2011 at 2:16 PM,
Art said:

It really does take a concerted commitment at the CEO level to succeed at Social Media. Too many Chief Executives I have worked with are bound by too much concern about controlling the brand and reputation. It is a true paradigm shift of letting your brand and product go free and let those that use them online become your brand ambassadors.

On 04/11/2011 at 2:58 PM,
Anna Barcelos said:

True Art. There is so much of the control thing still going on with companies. It's their security blanket. Even if it's baby steps, companies need to let go and change their thinking that only they know what's right for their customers. Thanks for your comment. Please email me and I will send you the entire e-book. Great content! Congrats!

On 04/11/2011 at 3:11 PM,
Sharon Mostyn said:

One of my goals this year is to get our EVP of Marketing to start interacting on social media, writing a blog, etc. We may have to start out with a ghost writer if I don't get to read your new e-book! ;)



On 04/11/2011 at 3:31 PM,
Anna Barcelos said:

Hey Sharon! Yes you get a copy, congrats. Lots of insights in it on how to get the C-Suite to look at things in a new way. I hope you enjoy it and good luck with your EVP of Marketing. He's lucky to have you.

On April 11, 2011, 7:30 PM,
Chris DaRosa said:

Great article Anna, no matter what type of business you are in, it starts with customer service and providing the best customer service will always keep them coming back!!!

On 04/11/2011 at 10:30 PM,
Anna Barcelos said:

Hey Chris! Nice to see you here. I definitely agree with you there. Customers just want to get their issues resolved or questions answered. It comes down to that seemingly simple thing, but companies aren't always consistent. Thanks for your comment, and you a copy of the CEO e-book! Let's catch up soon.

On 04/12/2011 at 12:50 PM,
Jacqui Taylor said:

Loved the article Anna.

One of the key ideas I like to 'map' when I'm new to a company and attempting to understand how to empower both people and data, is the customer signposts.

I look at al the IT touch points where the customer interacts with the company and plot a typical customer experience. Most people are dismayed at how complicated and unhelpful this is for customers.

Once we design what it should be, we know what to change. Then we empower the people to make the data tell the story.

Most companies have talented teams who are not enabled by IT, we change that. Everyone wins.

On 04/12/2011 at 1:32 PM,
Anna Barcelos said:

Thanks for the comment Jacqui. Mapping out the customer touchpoints is an excellent idea! You know how I feel about the power of data and the customer experience. Making information easy to use benefits internal and external customers. Your e-book is on it's way, congrats!

On April 13, 2011, 6:47 AM,
Anthony Campbell said:

Great article, thanks very much. This is becoming more and more important for many businesses

On 04/13/2011 at 9:34 AM,
Anna Barcelos said:

Thanks for the comment. You are officially the last owner of a complimentary copy of the e-book! I will email it to you.

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