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How to create a customer-first company culture
Business Basics

How to create a customer-first company culture

10 min read

Everyone knows the customer comes first—but how do you make it a part of your company’s DNA?

At Divvy, we are serious about building this kind of culture, and we think it makes a big difference in customer experience. In fact, we were named one of Forbes top 100 most customer-centric companies of 2022

Take a look at the methods we’ve used over the years that helped us in this arena. 


  • Think of the customer experience first, then build everything around it. 
  • Find ways to create moments of delight—surprises make customers feel appreciated. 
  • Be proactive, not reactive. Emphasize customer education so you can anticipate challenges.
  • Go the extra mile. How can you celebrate your customers’ success?

Why a customer-first culture matters

Keeping your customers happy seems like it should be simple: just offer great products and services, and customers will enjoy them. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Customers can tell when a company is really putting their needs first—it shows in every interaction they have with your business. 

A customer-first culture doesn’t just affect your customer service team. It should be a part of every level of your organization, because they all directly or indirectly impact the customer experience. When your company emphasizes this end result, it can change decisions big and small within your company. 

How to build a customer-first culture

Here’s what we’ve learned over the last several years about creating a company culture that puts customers first. 

Understand your customers’ perspective

Our customer experience team is focused entirely on addressing customer needs. When you call up Divvy customer support, you’re likely going to end up chatting with one of our customer experience advocates. They’re great at their jobs for many reasons, and their onboarding is a big part of that. 

When they first join the team, they often read our Divvy case studies in order to understand who our customers are and how Divvy has helped them. This provides important context for the work they do. 

They also complete an exercise that puts them in the shoes of the customer. Divvy eliminates the need for receipt tracking and creating expense reports, so the customer experience team needs to learn how challenging these old methods can be. 

As part of the process, they are each given several receipts and asked to put them into a traditional (non-Divvy) reimbursement form. Putting in each individual date and dollar amount takes time, and determining which categories each expense belongs to can be tedious and difficult.

Usually the team members find that they all made different decisions, resulting in inconsistent record keeping. Adding up these expenses in different ways could even change the reimbursement amount—meaning an employee might not receive all the money they deserve. 

This exercise gives our advocates a real-world view about what these processes look like without Divvy software, so they can see the value our product offers. It also allows them to better speak to the problems our customers face without Divvy. 

To implement this idea in your own company, take a look at your customer support team’s approach. How can you help them understand the customer perspective? 

Take feedback seriously

This might sound obvious, but not every company listens to what customers have to say. 

At Divvy, we are big on customer feedback. The voice of the customer matters, whether it’s compliments or complaints. We often pass comments along, so they can make a real difference—and we make changes based on this kind of feedback on a regular basis. 

So when your customers have ideas, make sure they feel heard. There should be processes in place to elevate customer feedback to the right decision makers so they can make a real impact. 

Create moments of delight

Every customer interaction is an opportunity to give them something unexpected. That’s why the Divvy customer experience team has a gratitude budget. If a customer has a particularly frustrating experience that they need sorted out, our customer experience advocates might surprise them with a five-dollar gift card.

And it’s not just for customers having a bad day—this gratitude budget can also be used to celebrate customer birthdays, great suggestions they might have, or even just really pleasant conversations. Our customer experience team is empowered to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis, and our customers are the ones who benefit. 

Take the time to think critically about points of contact with your customers. What are some ideas that could reduce friction? What might be a pleasant surprise for new or loyal customers?  

Be proactive about the customer experience 

It’s tempting to wait until something goes wrong before you address it. After all, if it’s working, why fix it? Unfortunately, this way of thinking can hold your company back. 

At Divvy, we prioritize future-proofing our solutions. Our customer experience team likes to think of themselves as tour guides, not firefighters. A firefighter waits for a problem, then puts out the fire—meanwhile, a tour guide walks you through everything you need to know before you even have a question or concern. 

This means our customer experience team sees every conversation as an opportunity for education. They want to help our customers so that they have additional insight for optimization, because when they get the most out of Divvy, everyone wins. 

Go the extra mile

How can you make your customers feel appreciated? What can you offer them that competitors can’t? The answer to these questions will vary widely depending on your industry and clientele, so you might have to get creative. 

At Divvy, we believe in using our resources to help our customers succeed. This shows in several different ways, including using our digital billboards to celebrate customer milestones, creating in-depth brand story videos for customer use, and sharing the Divvy gift guide during the holiday season. 

These efforts aren’t about advertising our services, but about helping our customers grow—and customers can tell the difference. 

Building a customer-first vision for your company

Take some time to brainstorm what you can do for your customers that might be a little exciting. What would be something they would look forward to? What would make your company stand out to them?

Whenever your customers are top of mind, you know you’re heading in the right direction. 

Ready to ditch expense reports? See everything Divvy can do

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided “as-is”; no representations are made that the content is error free.

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