Does your corporate strategy indicate the need to become more customer-centric? And, go on to build competitive advantage through customer experience? Well, this is really the easiest part!, The decision. But if you ask these decision makers what this means in practise, you would get several different answers. One might say it means focusing on digital, another on service design, a third talks about customer service and somebody else about corporate culture. If this is the case, the right thing to do is to throw the ball back to the management and ask them to provide a shared understanding and definition for corporate strategy and roadmap.

But, what really prevents you to become more customer-centric? Biggest challenges are organization siloes, corporate culture and fragmented customer information. So instead of trying to do everything at the same time, start from these key attributes.

First, how are you organized? Is it based on products, geography or channels? How about analyzing your customers’ journeys and reorganizing operations around customers? That would help teams understand their roles and responsibilities through the customers eyes. And don’t forget to change systems how you incentivise your teams and employees. If bonuses are based on products sold or geography only, then focus shifts to these factors.

You’ve heard saying that ”culture eats strategy for breakfast”? Don’t let that old phrase fool you. You can change culture by administering decisive messages and actions. Your management team must be aligned around the same messages and goals. Your management team must walk the talk – slide decks are just not enough. And, when you feel you are getting tired of communicating about the customer-centricity, the message has only begun to go through. So be patient! Finally your strategy – the scary breakfast – will be eaten and culture will change. Have you heard that customer experience equals employee experience? There’s a strong connection between the two, but it is easier said than done. For example relationship is different in an eCommerce company compared to a consultancy.

Have you felt you have been getting too many surveys? Or the management says there are too many of these useless surveys! But customers want to give feedback when things go wrong or even when they are super happy. So be sure to provide customers with a medium to give feedback at various critical touchpoints. It is better to get feedback through your survey process rather than having to deal with crisis situations afterward. And remember, if you want to close loop, feedback cannot be anonymous. And for this part, you must have reliable CRM or customer support software. Finally, all these surveys are useless unless you utilize the data you posses. One typical misunderstanding is that the research team owns the data. However, data coming from transactional surveys should be owned by business.

So is it easy to build customer-centric organization? Typically start-ups or companies in crisis align themselves around customers easily. But when business is fine, creating the atmosphere for change isn’t easy. Top management needs to be unified and clear – change is the only option. Each company has to find their own path.

Learn more on the topic of Customer Experience, and how to use it to build a customer-centric organization in my upcoming webinar with live Q&A on Nov 14 2018 at 3pm CEST. Save your seat now!

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