Sunday, March 16, 2014

Five Steps to Customer - Centricity

More often,  the linkages between customer-centric capability and sustained business performance aren't understood by enough business leaders.

 Making the business case for customer experience is as we all know not so easy. Building customer centricity consistently in a way that delivers the right experiences to the right customers at the right times is, in most companies, enormously complicated. What are the wise steps businesses should take to customer centricity, and what’re the milestones on the way to celebrate the success and push business maturity to the next level?

1.  Continue to Create Customer Value  

Customer Experience (CX) value creation is to provide the tailored customer solutions, it is the process of making a company's products and services extraordinarily relevant to the wants, needs or desires of customers - physically, spiritually or emotionally. Value creation means the company management knows enough about their customers, and takes action to fill that type of need, be transparent to an extent where you don't lose profits.

Gaining such customer empathy will help organizations to understand and orchestrate business through outside-in customer view; and empower employees with the latest digital tools to analyze customer’s behavior or needs, to capture the growth opportunities through innovating the next products or services for continually creating customer value. Therefore, some say digital is indeed the age of customer empathy. 

2. Strike the Balance between Customer-Centricity and Profitability

Without customers, an organization cannot survive, and without profitability, an organization cannot grow. The business has to continuously understand its customer needs and requirements also have a clear understanding of how customer-centric approaches enhance the business model and extend profitability.

It requires consistently digging deeper and having both strategic and tactical level CX metrics in place that keep a pulse on the inner workings of the business. It is extremely challenging to strike the right balance between short-term profitability and long-term prosperity: While some companies could increase profit on the short term, to lose a customer-centric approach will impact the bottom line in the long run.

3.    Build Capabilities to Deliver Superior Customer Experience  

To build the customer-centric business, the organization needs to think in terms of building business capabilities. Too often, the customer-centric effort is layered on top of the ‘REAL’ work so the customer mantra pales in comparison to the rigor of other areas of the operation where there is measurable clarity of what needs to be done, by when and by whom. 

Having a strong sense of how to develop customer-centric programs within the business means to build the integral and unique set of business capabilities to combine technology and business tactics, the smart or popular processes and dedicated talent that drive customer value creation. It's about building competitive capabilities that create and sustain customer values. The challenge is demonstrating to a company how capable they are relative to where they know they need to be to be better than their competition.

4. Knit Everything together into a Great Customer Experience  

Learn how to collaborate across your business, network, and ecosystem. One common element in all these areas involved in creating the customer experience is people, and how people interact with customers and how proactively and promptly they solve their needs, the effective change management effort can convert many departments from rather inward-looking organizations to having an external focus and customer-centric approach.

A silo and disconnected organization could not deliver value effectively to its customers, there are quite a few paradigm shifts: Operation efficiency needs to be the solution to the customer problem, not create it; and profit is the by-product of customer centricity, not the only goal business is pursuing; the holistic thinking and solution has to be encouraged, either for crafting strategy or optimizing process, as  updating and re-deploying processes ends up being a lot like making updates to software - a change in one place can easily cause problems elsewhere so you have to spend a lot of time testing any new process. A customer-centric digital business is fluid, agile, flexible and resilient in knitting all necessary elements together into a great customer experience.

5.    Bold Leadership to Promote a Strong Brand  

Last but not least, success comes with leadership truly believes and commits to customer centricity. Many times, businesses generally don't have bold enough leadership and strategic movement to drive the change required to really develop customer-centric business models. Or the linkages between customer-centric capability & quality and sustained business performance aren't understood by enough executives. If senior management doesn't believe there is an acceptable return on investment, the race never starts in earnest. Most pay lip service to customer experience but don't have the kind of commitment and guts necessary to show real results. Hence, everyone at the C-suite needs to be aligned with what customer-centricity really means for the organization. It's a fundamental shift in operations and philosophy. The reality is that without ‘radical’ change in organizational structure, culture and measures nothing more than small incremental changes will transpire.

In addition, Customer Experience and Brand Experience can mutually enforce with each other. Customer Experience can attempt to shape each and every potential Customer Experience (touch point/pain point/joy point) with its brand personality such that the firm provides customers with Brand Experiences that are unique to the brand, and on the other side, the delightful customer experience can enforce its business brand as well.

The path to customer-centric won’t be straight or flat, there’s bumps or curves, roadblocks, and pitfalls, as it is a transformation journey which needs to have both step-by-step progress and a quantum leap from leadership to culture; from strategy to capability.


Great article... All 5 steps are really very important for customer-centric operations. I found this information very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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