All business success starts with the ability to create value for customers. Value creation is increasingly becoming an important organisational goal to avoid the spiral of price competition and cost reductions. Companies want to change the way they do business to reflect this reality that the customers, who purchase and use their services are the source of all value created for the company (Fader 2012).

Customer Centricity is much more than changing products and services to increase customer satisfaction. It requires redesigning the company structure, culture and processes.

How can an organisation make this change to become connected to the outside world and to create long-term sustainable growth?

WHAT IS CUSTOMER CENTRICITY?

Customer Centricity is organisational culture, strategy, and a philosophy in one. The concept covers all areas of a company and requires commitment and action from all employees to management and through the various departments. As former CEO of HP David Packard once famously said ‘Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department’. Peter Drucker confirms this by saying: ‘Marketing (..) encompasses the entire business.  It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view’.  Jeff Bezos, perhaps more than any business leader, has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer and encompassed it in Amazon’s vision statement to ‘be the earth’s most customer-centric company’. The vision statement created a strong motivational force to push Amazon’s e-commerce business to be the best in the world.

Customer Centric Organisation

Technology, unprecedented access to information and direct business models give more power to customers than ever before. As a result, it is crucial that everybody in an organisation is driven to understand customers and is actively looking for customer feedback and insights, understanding their contribution to the value they create for customers. Organisations should be an effective and efficient business system to deliver and capture that value sustainably, constantly adapting to changing customer needs.

HOW TO GET STARTED?

Here are 7 elements of how organisations can become customer-centric and obtain its benefits.

  1. It starts with Leadership committing to a focus on customer value, setting the example to build an inquisitive culture to understand customers and act upon it.
  2. The foundation is formed by a Customer Insights Engine that gathers and distributes into the whole organisation analysis, insights and the voice of the customer.
  3. Customer-driven strategizing will deliver Value Propositions that translate insights into products and services for exactly those customer segments that the organisation has selected.
  4. Customer aligned Organisational Structure distributes responsibilities aligned with customer segments or needs, instead of product or business lines.
  5. Organisations deliver the promised value with Effective and Efficient Processes that constantly adapt to capture that value, creating sustainable financial results.
  6. Customer Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s) and Reporting need to be put in place, focussing on the relevant customer metrics that drive the business results.
  7. Customer Centricity is not a static situation. It needs Agile Improvements by Empowered People who can autonomously decide and adapt based on customer feedback.

These seven elements help to create a truly customer-centric organisation that constantly adapts and moves to create value for customers, and captures it.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT IT?

Not all of these elements are easy to implement and many organisations struggle to become customer-centric.

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