Business Performance Consulting, Leadership

Why become a customer centric organization? (1 of 3)

Organizations are increasingly realizing that getting closer to the customer is essential for growth. Consumers have more choice than ever before and won’t hesitate to walk away if their needs are not met despite the efforts of some companies to make this hard for their customers. This is emerging as a new reality for almost every industry.

Seeing the world from your customer’s perspective and executing effectively to make that core to what an organization does may be the greatest achievement possible for many.

This is more difficult than it sounds and requires forethought, experience and planning. It requires a focus on the right things, an understanding of who the customer actually is (many organizations get this wrong), an aligned approach to meeting those needs and a focus on the metrics that matter.

This also requires leadership with a deep understanding of their customer’s needs and how to drive enterprise-wide performance and commitment to that customer. It cannot just be rhetoric. It must be what gets the leadership excited and out of bed each day. Bringing the brand and its promise to life and validating it continually with customers should energize the organization.

How many of the internal initiatives (read effort) underway in your organization directly map to improving customer focus? Is your senior leadership centered around the CEO, or the customer?

Customer centricity requires a shift in focus from the top. A few examples of where a shift in thinking could be include:

  • Operations focusing not just on back-office efficiency but understanding how back-office efficiency equates to effectiveness measures, ability to execute on customer needs and continual customer focus.
  • IT focusing not just on automating sales and marketing but making the company easier to do business with for the customer.
  • Marketing focusing less on share of customer wallet but instead listening to customers and their needs much more effectively across all channels.
  • Finance focusing not just on pricing and profitability but identifying customer metrics cascading through the organization that if understood could drive profitability.

A shift in focus needs to occur at the top to move from just improving business strategy to also driving the organization to meet the evolving needs of customers. Even organizations that manage to re-align themselves to do this must be able to execute seamlessly otherwise the customer gets limited benefit and value.

We’ll explore this further in future posts. In the meantime:

  • what are some other ways organizations can change to better meet customer’s needs?
  • does customer centric delivery and design really matter?
  • what matters more, customer centricity or ability to execute?
  • how did organizations grow to where they are today? did they ever focus on the customer or did they loose their way at some point?


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