1to1 Customer Champions Overcome Internal Challenges to Build Customer Centricity

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The 2010 1to1 Customer Champions embrace customer centricity and advocate for customers both internally and externally. Part of what makes them stand out is how they encourage their colleagues and co-workers to do the same.

Today we're happy to announce the newest group of 1to1 Customer Champions. These 15 executives embrace customer centricity and advocate for customers both internally and externally. Part of what makes them stand out is how they encourage their colleagues and co-workers to do the same. Being customer-focused is easier said than done. There are multiple priorities within a company, with different departments working toward different goals. Technology like CRM or social media tools can't make companies be customer-centric. It's the people that make the difference. This challenge is well-known to this year's group of Champions.

Here, executives from American Express, Symantec, CDW, and the Hamilton County Department of Education discuss how they overcame challenges in getting colleagues to embrace customer centricity.

James Bush,
Executive Vice President, World Service,
American Express:

"Deemphasizing the need to follow scripts and hurry the customer off the phone, which is typical in call centers, was a major shift. There is real value for both customers and for the company in managing calls in a timely manner. In fact, the customer will indicate when time is up. Therefore, we needed to convince the organization that in making this change, we weren't looking to extend call times; instead; we were looking to our customers to dictate how long they wanted to spend on the phone with us. And by actively listening, we've actually decreased average handle time because we get to the heart of the matter more quickly."

Desirree Madison-Biggs,
Director, Customer Insight & Measurement,
Symantec Corporation:

"Symantec is a pretty customer-centric organization. Everyone here knows that customers are important because they're the lifeblood of the company. The biggest challenges we face are really acting on that belief. My challenge is helping the company to know what to do on a pretty granular level, knowing exactly what to do and encouraging them to take bold actions."

Kirk Kelly, Ph.D.,
Director of Testing and Accountability,
Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE):

"Once we were able to show people that this information would help, it made it much easier. We had to first go through and show that it might be helpful if they would make some slight modifications in some places. Once they got better results from those modifications, the barriers subsided. And then the problem became one of capacity -- how we could meet the teachers' growing demands for the data."

Gloria Berndl,
Sr. Director Market & Business Intelligence,
CDW:

"We're a pretty customer-focused company overall. I think the biggest challenge we overcame is that it's not just about the customer experience, it is also about the customers themselves and financials. How do we actually make money giving customers a good experience? That early work we did in linking and tracking customer problems and retention and customer feedback to financial results went a long way in a sales-driven organization."

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