One of the challenges that any organization faces when deciding to implement a customer-centric strategy is one of high intent mixed with low discipline/follow-through. My colleague Phil Bounsall likens this to the various personalities you might see at the gym.
Chef Boyardee has recently launched an ad campaign in which they say that kids can get a full serving of vegetables in a bowl of their various products – ravioli, spaghetti, etc. The point they are making is that you can effectively “fool” your kids into eating their vegetables, since they like to eat ravioli. All questions of the veracity of their claims aside, the main point is that eating their product is a win-win.
How does this relate to customer-centricity? From our experience, we see four factors that help determine the success of a customer-centric strategy; one these, alignment with work processes, speaks to the notion that being customer centric is what we do, not one more thing to do. The key here is to understand which of your processes are getting in the way of maximizing customer focus and either eliminate them or re-tool them so that they align with the customer-centric strategy.
Like exercise and eating vegetables, being customer-centric makes logical sense – everyone knows this is good for you, but making it happen is much more difficult. To the extent that we align the strategy to how we do the work (and how we are rewarded) shifts the tide away from customer-centricity being a “flavor of the week” to a means of achieving our personal – as well as corporate - goals.
What barriers in your environment prevent your organization from becoming customer-centric?
Mark A. Ratekin
Sr. Vice President, Consulting Services & Resource Management