The Inbound Playbook

How To Future-Proof Your Business With A Customer-Centric Company Culture!

05 Mar 2018

Whenever the word ‘customer-centric’ pops into our minds; many immediately associate it with stellar brands like; Amazon, Apple Zappos, Virgin, Starbucks, etc.

And one key element that’s highly consistent across these companies; which have enabled them to achieve such staggering success – is their ‘customer-centric company culture’

A customer-centric company is not just about offering good and timely service. In fact these businesses are highly committed to delivering a positive experience in every step of the customers’ journeyRight from the moment they’re accepted as potential prospects to the point when they become repeat customers and preferably, brand evangelists

A study revealed that 59% of the customers said a bad experience caused them to stop buying from the company and 40% of those customers spread the (bad) word to others

Whereas, ‘Customer-Centric’ Companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer. 

Today the consumers are highly informed, engaged, and the market is becoming extremely competitive. Companies who are abreast with digital innovation, those who align their core values and marketing/sales strategies to be in sync with consumers’ demand and consumption behaviours; are the smart ones who future-proof their businesses and make it to the top… 

But those who fail to enhance customers’ experience, drive innovation and build strong relationship with their customers; succumb to the pressure and eventually ‘bite the dust’ in this disruptive age of ‘Digital Darwinism’! 

Here are a couple of insights to help you build a ‘customer-centric’ company culture and ‘future-proof’ your business: 

Creating A Customer-Centric ‘STRATEGIC NARRATIVE’

You can call it the ‘foundational brick’; because effectively communicating the ‘strategic intent’ is what enables companies to achieve a true ‘customer-centric’ culture.

As individuals we have our own ‘personal narratives’ that define us; which paints a picture of who we are; our nature, behaviour, intent, beliefs, purpose and perception of the world and how we see ourselves in it – A company or a business also needs to ask relevant questions to help distill their narrative. Questions such as: Why does my business exist? What constitutes its value proposition? How do we want to be known in our industry? 

The narratives often give you a sense of ‘your unique story’ – A sense of who you are as a company; where were you before, where you are now and where you’re heading; Your strong beliefs on how value is created and how you value and nurture relationships…  

Once you boil down and condense your narrative to your heart’s content; then everything else stems from it – Whether it’s your mission, values, tagline & slogans, your value proposition, your management policies, guidelines on why and how decisions get made, how should employees respond to any given situation, etc. 

One such shining example is that of Starbucks and its ‘strategic narrative’ to be its customers’ ‘Third Space’!  


Meaning, besides the 1st Place (one’s Home); the 2nd Place (the Workplace), Starbucks exists for the sole purpose to be the third social environment most people experience – a communal hub or an anchor of community life. 

For many people, Starbucks experience is not just about the coffee; it’s more about a lively and intoxicating social ambience; it’s about comfy chairs, awesome smell of shade-grown java, friendly faces, free Wi-Fi, soothing music radiating through the walls and great conversations… 

Exactly what the founder Howard Schultz envisioned for his company - “Starbucks Coffee is the #1 purveyor of coffee in the world.  We are here to educate and enhance the best possible customer experience.” 

In his book Onward, Schultz writes, “Starbucks’ coffee is exceptional, yes, but emotional connection is our true value proposition. Starbucks is not a coffee company that serves people. It is a people company that serves coffee.” 

Shared Purpose Vs Siloed Purpose

To borrow the ideas of Mark Bonchek, the founder and CEO (Chief Epiphany Officer) of Shift ThinkingThe cornerstone of a powerful strategic narrative is a shared purpose

It goes beyond your value proposition of what you deliver to your customers; or your contribution to the world - Rather, it’s about a journey or creating an experience with your customers – not a siloed or a detached mission; but a pursuit where you have a shared purpose with your customers, thus shifting the relationship from ‘consumer to co-creator’! 

Take a look at the mission statements of the two most successful sports brand in the world; Adidas and Nike: 

ADIDAS: The Adidas Group strives to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry with brands built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle

NIKE: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.

          (* “if you have a body, you’re an athlete.”) 


Quite clearly, we see how Adidas is focused on ‘values’ and how they excel at creating exceptional sporting goods to offer its customers; whereas, Nike goes further to not just fulfill peoples’ interest but also to reach out and assimilate the audiences’ sense of who they are – If Adidas is For the customers, then Nike is With the customers – a shared purpose and a compelling impetus to co-create a worthwhile experience! 

To Sum It Up…

Through his book The End Of Business As Usual, digital analyst and futurist, Brian Solis professes that the future relationship between companies and customers can only thrive if it’s customer-centric

There is no better way to win the hearts of The generation ‘C’  which he defines in the book as ‘Connected’ – but by nurturing a customer-centric company culture through the creation of great narratives!

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email

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