What does it take to build a disruptive, customer-centric company?
It starts with customer-centric leaders.
Digital investment company Betterment was on my list of the 100 most customer-centric companies in 2022 because of its innovative platform that combines the convenience of digital tools with the personalization of human agents. Aside from a strong digital experience, what sets Betterment apart is its customer-centric leadership. The company can disrupt a long-held industry because leaders are laser-focused on customers.
According to Liane Pierce, VP of Client Experience at Betterment, the hallmark of a customer-focused leader is someone who is passionate about the product. But even more importantly, customer-focused leaders genuinely desire to know their users and make sure everyone in the company understands who they are serving.
Betterment builds a culture of customer-centric leadership by promoting empathy and encouraging everyone to take client calls—no matter their title or seniority. Customer-centric leaders ensure there’s a continuous feedback loop within the organization. Leaders must be willing to engage with customers and have transparent access to direct client feedback.
Companies evolve, and leaders must ensure they and their teams are in tune with changing customer trends and preferences. But customer-centric leaders can’t just wait for the feedback to come to them—they need to seek it out and ensure they are a consistent part of the dialogue of who they’re helping make their lives better.
A customer focus isn’t something leaders can practice once. It requires evolution and continual attention. Great leaders put customers first and prioritize feedback and customers in their decisions.
It also isn’t a solo endeavor. Customer-centric leaders don’t drive successful companies on their own. They empower their teams to serve customers and stay connected.
Pierce put it this way: “Understanding the customer is a cross-functional role. One of the best things you can do to be successful in your role is to build relationships with those cross-functional leaders that are going to be your key partners.”
Customer-centric leadership unites the product, marketing, operations, and CX teams to build strong connections throughout the company.
Customer-centric companies start with customer-centric leaders who build a culture where every employee is focused on providing a relevant and amazing customer experience. Betterment shows that great things can happen when strong leadership is prevalent throughout the organization.
This episode is sponsored by Thinkific.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.