On the 1st day of Christmas my CEO said to me “We need a customer focused organisational tree”.
OK – I know the 1st day of Christmas is the 25th (or 26th) of December, but I hope you’re doing something more enjoyable by then so we’ve decided to do our “twelve days” in the run-up rather than after Christmas!
It is the aspiration of many companies these days to be customer focused or customer centric. But what does this mean and why is it so difficult to achieve?
What is it? I would agree with my colleague Doug Leather and assert that “Customer Centricity is the eco-system and operating model that enables an organisation to design and deliver a unique and distinctive customer experience”.
Why is it so difficult? Silos in the organisation are often cited as the biggest barrier to customer centricity. And this is mostly correct – I would qualify this by saying that it’s silo behaviour that does so much counter-cultural damage to becoming more customer focused as a business. In other words it’s about people.
We all know that most people don’t like change. To them it often means the perception of giving up something:
- Loss of identity – “Who am I now that I no longer sit in ?”
- Loss of control – “I didn’t ask for this”
- Loss of meaning – “Why is this happening?”
- Loss of confidence – “I’m not sure I have the ability to…”
- Loss of understanding – “I’m not sure how this will work now that…”
These apply to changing behaviours to become more customer centric, and often are the cause of poor adoption of the new structure, approach or system. Silos have nice clear objectives, boundaries and reporting lines – whether it adds up to a great customer experience or not is somebody else’s problem (maybe the Chief Customer Officer’s silo!).
However, change is not optional anymore. The world is undergoing rapid transformation and customers are stepping into their power and making ever-increasing demands of business.
We would assert that building sustainable competitive advantage requires you to review your business models to ensure that the customer is central to its design. Our Customer Centricity Masterclass will focus your team and stakeholders on what B2B customer centricity means for you and how to put the customer more at the heart of what you do.