Ensure success through meaningful customer culture

Vili Nieminen

The creation of a purposeful organisation starts from the top. Shifting the business focus from individual tasks to meeting customer needs is as important to individual employee’s well-being as to the organisation’s capability to produce superior customer experiences. However, no tools or practices succeed without a strong and holistic customer culture. This blog builds on the link of employee and customer experience and CX metrics development to emphasise the importance of customer focus in organisational practices and paradigms.  

Over 50% of the world’s population is now considered middle class and can afford some differentiated goods and services.[1] Increasingly, decision criteria for purchases include implicit associations to the good or service, such as brand or purchasing experience, which do not directly relate to consumption but are crucial to perceived value. Organisations and their purposes behind the experiences they provide play an ever-larger role when a greater percentage of the global population gains purchasing power to make consumption decisions based on their personal values.

Most people seek a more meaningful reward than salary from their work, too. This has scientific backing[2] and the rationale is quite straightforward: if one uses roughly half of their waking time on something, it should have an impact.

Shifting the business focus from individual tasks to meeting customer needs creates essential activities for success, while harmonising interdependent functions. This is as important to individual employee’s well-being as to the organisation’s capability to produce superior customer experiences. However, no tools or practices succeed without a strong and holistic customer culture.

Creating a meaningful customer culture

The creation of a purposeful organisation starts from the top. Senior leadership sets the vision, a foundation for culture, and frames for the working environment. The further we go in organisational branches, it is the managers’ duty to hold responsibility of the daily activities, but the overall organisational “health” and functionality stem from the decisions of higher-ups. Structural choices between values, procedures, recruiting and so forth create a prosperous setting for well-being and performance, or vice versa.

These choices should cultivate a customer-centred culture across functions. But things must go further than the beautiful slogans in annual reports. Customer-driven metrics and transparency should create a unified understanding for different organisational levels. The interdependencies bring different teams and business units closer to each other, the customer, and the mission of the organisation. The resulting customer successes should be celebrated around the business. For example, impactful client stories contribute to individual employees’ feelings of togetherness and binds their identities to the purpose of the company.

Salesforce provides a great example of a customer-dominant culture. The software giant’s leadership is very dedicated to thriving the Ohana identity, Hawaiian tradition of family, and customer success, one of their four core values. The V2MOM (vision, values, methods, obstacles, measures) method ensures that each and everyone in the company understands where they are going and why. As the leader in CRM, Salesforce often goes even a step further and ensures their customer’s customers are prospering. Accountability is held high, and on top of it all, the company has an extensive benevolence program dedicating massive resources for a greater good.[3]

Partly due to these kinds of forerunners, the expectations and reality of working life are evolving at a fast pace on a larger scale. What should work and organisations really be like? Remote work is nowadays a well-established norm in many places, and especially the millennials are breaking older ways of working. This brings new implications for management and job structure overall.

Glancing at the prospective future of work

While more people seek meaning from their work, it is not the only thing demanded from current positions. Increased flexibility, responsibilities, and support are things that almost everyone would like to have more of. Yet, the most important thing is to make jobs more fulfilling, as only 15% of full-time employees report being engaged in their work.[4] Again, leaders and managers must be able to bring customer-derived reasoning to each activity. In addition, personal acknowledgements and trust are elementary, but often forgotten fundamentals that will only grow more important. The customer narrative and sense of community are effective here again.

These fundamentals are especially relevant to many potential trends like the gig economy and self-organisation where people become more fluid between different positions, teams, and tasks. As entities need to be swifter to respond to emerging issues, task forces, independent consultants and the like probably become more common. Increasingly demanding customer requirements may produce even more innovative organisation architectures for greater results.

In earlier blogs, we established the importance of employees on customer experience and described how demand-driven metrics can be used as tools to enhance strategic and managerial performance. It is important to note that these practices should always be supported by collective customer-first paradigms. The cultural notions of working, collaboration, measuring, and decision-making concretise the assessment and actualisation of customer experience throughout the organisation. Senior leadership accounts for the direction which must revolve tightly around the customer, clearly communicated to everyone.


This blog article has been published with permission from Qentinel. It has been republished at https://info.qentinel.com/blog/ensure-success-through-meaningful-customer-culture

Vili Nieminen is a customer-oriented business student from Aalto University. In addition to these topics, he is interested in IT and outdoors exercises. Vili writes on behalf of Qentinel, one of our CX Masterclass partners.



[1] Aglionby, J. (2018) “More than half the world’s population is now middle class”. Financial Times. [Online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/e3fa475c-c2e9-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89a [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018].

[2] Shea-Van Fossen, R. (2010) “Why we work: An investigation of work meaning through work orientation”. Ph.D, The City University of New York.

[3] Sundberg, J. (n.d.) “How Salesforce Drives Employer Brand Through Culture”. Link Humans. [Online]  Available at: https://linkhumans.com/salesforce-employer-culture/ [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].

[4] Gallup, Inc. (2017) “The State of the Global Workplace”. GALLUP PRESS, New York, NY. [Online] Available at: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238079/state-global-workplace-2017.aspx


Want to learn more about how to improve your organisations customer experience? Join us with Ian Golding who is leading the CX Masterclass training on May 7th and 8th. Ian’s last visit to Finland was in 2019, but this year it has been expanded into a two-day event with more insights than ever before. Get your tickets soon at www.cxmasterclass.fi. See you there!

Ian Golding is a renowned CX specialist, who advises leading companies with their CX strategies, as well as measuring and developing CX and listening to your employees. He is the first one to have achieved the Certified Customer Experience Professional certificate and acts as CXPA UK Ambassador.


”Ensure that you do right by your employees first, so that they in turn are able to delight your customers.”
– Ian Golding, Founder, Customer Experience Consultancy


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