The following is a modified excerpt from my book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business), available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

Transforming your business to one that puts the customer at the center of all it does is a lot of work. A lot of hard work. But it’s doable. Don’t be discouraged!

First and foremost, the CEO must deliberately define (and drive) the culture to be one that puts the customer’s best interests at the center of all the business does. Then, it takes the entire organization to be committed to it, to work together toward a common goal, to put the “customer” in customer experience. You know that there’s a lot of lip service about customer experience and improving the customer experience, but until you put the customer into everything you do, well, it’s just that—lip service.

You can’t just rebrand or paint the walls or throw technology at a people problem. No. You’ve got to listen to, and understand, your customers, and then you’ve got to use what you learn to design and deliver a better experience.

You’ve got to get to work.

A lot of this customer experience transformation work begins with and is really a mindset shift. Executives and employees alike must choose to prioritize customers and the customer experience differently; it needs to be a primary focus. Listening to customers, researching them and developing personas, and co-creating through journey mapping will help to make that shift.

Anything you can do to educate the organization about customers and the customer experience or to keep customers, their needs, and their pain points front-and-center is going to make a big difference in that mindset shift. That mindset shift ultimately needs to lead to a behavior shift as well.

I like to remind my clients that nothing changes if nothing changes. You can do everything that I’ve outlined in the book, but if you don’t implement what you’ve learned, well, things just stay as they are.

You’ve probably seen the Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert’s boss says: Our highest priority is satisfying our customers . . . except when it is hard . . . or unprofitable . . . or we’re busy.” Don’t make excuses! Make the customer experience your highest priority. (Oh, and put your employees and their experience even higher.)

Customer understanding is the cornerstone of customer-centricity. It is also a catalyst for change.

Use it to make changes! Or as General Eric Shinseki said: If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

Put the customer in customer experience. Intentionally design the experience they desire and deserve. And watch the business achieve the intentional outcomes: growth and profitability.

Expecting things to change without putting in any effort is like waiting for a ship at the airport. – Unknown

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. In 2019, She published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Right now, she’s busy on the manuscript for her second book, which will be available in early 2022! Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.