The Four Customer Experience Core Competencies

In the latest Temkin Insight Report, The Four Customer Experience Core Competencies, it highlights what it takes for an organization to become truly customer-centric. The report focuses on these four competencies:

Purposeful Leadership: Companies need to make sure that all of their HR practices reinforce the company’s purpose. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, explained that the company’s 10 core values, which start with “Deliver Wow Through Service” and end with “Be Humble,” are the cornerstone to how he runs the company. He hires, fires, and promotes people based on how well they support those values.

In The Customer Experience Revolution, Larry Tesler, Vice President and Chief Scientist at Apple Computer, shared that Steve Jobs would delay product releases until the experience was right. And Kaaren Hanson, Intuit’s Vice President of Design Innovation, explains that their CEO, Scott Cook, spends many hours out with customers, partly because he wants to stay in touch with customers and partly because he is modeling the behavior that he expects from everyone on his team and throughout the organization.

Compelling Brand Values: TNT, a European transportation leader, has identified 10 specific promises to customers that include “We promise a friendly voice at the end of the phone” and “We promise to resolve problems promptly.” Each of these promises has specific elements such as “Your calls will be answered professionally and promptly, with our aim to answer at least 85% of calls within 10 seconds.”

Your brand can either draw your customer towards your products and services or away from it. Mini Cooper surveys its customers and creates a Customer Service Index (CSI) score for their sales and service staff. If a customer has an issue, a staff member must respond within 24 hours. All the dealership employees know their scores and can monitor them in real time on their intranet, logging into their internet to track their CSI scores. And the employees are properly motivated because Mini sales reps’ bonuses are determined by these scores. Read all about it in The Customer Experience Revolution.

Employee Engagement: Hershey Entertainment tells stories about their own Service Action Heroes in company newsletters, training programs, and new hire orientation. These heroes are employees who have been recognized for going above and beyond living Hershey’s values for guests or their co-workers.

In The Customer Experience Revolution, we explain how companies like Netflix create experience labs where every employee can observe their customers interaction with their products.

Customer Connectedness: If a USAA member calls in to change his address, the reps are trained to understand why and deal with bigger issues. If the call is from a soldier who is about to be deployed, then the rep might check to see if the member has thought about items such as a will, power of attorney, and life insurance.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of, understands that making a bad purchase decision isn’t just a waste of the money a customer has spent on the product, it’s a waste of the customer’s time spent with the product. Amazon was one of the first companies to introduce a customer rating system for their products – despite the discouragement of their vendors. Read more in The Customer Experience Revolution.