Understanding Three Prevalent Types of Customer Centric Cultures

By Jim Sinur

(Aragon Research) – What does a customer centric culture really look like? This blog will explore three major types of customer centric cultures: community based, chameleon based, and commodity based. All types affect the quality of the customer experience, the employee experience, and the partner experience in the long run.

What kind of customer culture do you want your business to have?


1. Community Based Customer Culture

A community based culture makes customers feel special about being a part of the organization, akin to being ‘part of the family’. This is the kind of culture that is inclusive, and makes customers feel appreciated and respected.

I find that these kind of customer cultures used to be prevalent, but are few and far between these days. In fact, many companies can be disrespectful of customers’ time and patience with the goal of optimizing costs and profitability—but this creates an “us versus them” mentality instead of a community. Customers that feel welcome, included, and respected are more likely to stick with your organization in the long term.

2. Chameleon Based Customer Culture

The chameleon based culture changes its experience with the customer as it learns who they are and what their immediate, mid term, and long term goals are going forward. This kind of culture appeals to the customer because it evolves alongside them—it’s a responsive culture that is aimed at dynamic need fulfillment. The chameleon based culture offers a forgiving and encouraging experience that adapts to changing conditions in real-time.

3. Commodity Based Customer Culture

Definable, standard, and repeatable are the watch words of this culture. It’s all about leveraging standard and practiced responses for the best efficiency. The commodity based culture is usually tipped to help the organization, not the customer, and the customer tends to feel like a commodity themselves.

This kind of culture aims to make money. However, while organizations should strive to be efficient for all parties’ sakes, this approach, when taken to an extreme, will drive customers away.

Bottom Line

Business leaders need to define the kind of target customer centric culture they want their organization to represent. Most likely a great and balanced customer culture will have some of each type built into it over time.

Be clear about what kind of customer culture you want to emulate. Digital transformations should help create and maintain a balanced and positive customer culture while keeping efficiency and loyalty in mind.