Dr. Linden and Chris Brown are co-authors of a study on cusotmer culture. The results are published in a paper titled The Customer Culture Research Program and was recently noted on the HBR Blog.  Their findings raise an intersting question: namely, what does it mean to have a customer culture, and what are some of its important aspects?

This study represented multi-year research to meet a number of objectives. Its primary purpose was to design, test, implement, and evaluate a customer culture measurement tool.
After several iterations across more than 150 businesses the research identified “seven cultural factors that drive customer satisfaction, revenue and profit growth, innovation, and new product success.” These seven factors are noted below:
  1. Customer insight is the factor that examines how well a company understands its current customers’ needs.
  2. Customer foresight is the factor that describes how well the company leads the market with new services before customers recognize their own changing needs.
  3. Competitor insight is the factor that describes how well the company monitors its competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Competitor foresight is the factor that describes how well the company considers its competitors when making decisions about their own customers.
  5. Peripheral vision is the factor that describes how well the company’s employees actively seek to understand the threats and opportunities observed in the market.
  6. Cross-Functional collaboration is the factor that describes how well employees are working across functional areas of the company to solve customer problems in order to deliver better service to the customers.
  7. Strategic alignment is the factor that describes how well the company’s vision, values and strategy are understood by all staff members and employees.
These seven factors are key components for describing how well the company’s culture is tuned to their customers. The research indicates statistical validity to these factors, so they should be considered highly relevant for describing how well a company has included the customer into its corporate strategy.
The bottom line is that the customer experience continues to be validated as a significant indicator of a company’s success or failure. As the authors of the study note, if these seven factors are practiced, the company should be able to create superior values for customers and sustainable growth for their business. The takeaway from this research study is that customer culture is not just a phrase to put in the business plan, but a concept that has real components. The question to be answered is, how well would your company score in each of these seven factors?
This article was originally published by The Customer Institute