July 5th and 19th, 2016

For the latest in our Breakfast Series, Building a Customer-Centric Culture, we invited Dr. Linden Brown, author of the book “The Customer Culture Imperative”, and Dr. David Cooke, Managing Director of Konica Minolta Australia, to share their perspectives on the importance of customer centricity in today’s organisations.

What does it take to get staff to focus on the customer?

Linden shared highlights from his book, which guides organisations in achieving outstanding performance. Linden pointed out that future sustainability of businesses is dependent on delivering great customer experiences. So what are customer-centric companies like Zappo’s, Starbucks and Virgin Trains doing right?

They understand how customers use the product in their lives. They encourage and empower staff to go above and beyond to delight customers and fix things which have gone wrong. Even if the costs for the recovery exceeds the price the customer initially paid, the positive effect on the customer lifetime value makes the recoveries profitable on the long term.

For instance, car manufacturer Lexus realised that for their customers the journey is more important than the car. So when a family broke down in the French alps, they flew them out with a helicopter. With this recovery, Lexus won some strong advocates and gained great return through worth of mouth, in turn increasing lifetime value and marketing.

It’s a matter of fact that 450 employees have more ideas than you as the CEO

In his role as Managing Director of Konica Minolta Australia, David is leveraging the positive correlation between employee experience and customer experience. When taking on his role, David was asked to give a short speech during the official handing-over ceremony. Figuring out what to say on his way to the stage, David found what should become his guiding principle for his time at Konica Minolta: “Let us all work together for a company that cares.”

Following this principle, one of his first acts as Managing Director was to engage all 450 staff in a voluntary survey – and received 400 responses. Not only was this high response rate strong evidence that Konica Minolta employees really care, it was also a rich supply of fantastic and very implementable ideas of how to address the challenges of turning Konica Minolta around in a declining market and making the change to a company that cares about its customers, its employees, the community and shareholders.