"It's in their DNA!" That is a common response when someone asks, "What makes that company so customer focused?"
There are other common responses such as, "it's embedded in their culture" or "it's woven into the fabric of their business." All these are actually pretty good metaphors as they help explain something that is inexplicably hard to grasp. However, it doesn't really explain the true ingredients that make a company customer focused. After all, you can't go out and purchase company DNA or specially woven company fabric. It's not even available online!
After quizzing a group of experts (my colleagues - who really are experts at this), I've landed on these three:
- Leadership - Starting at the top, the company believes in being customer focused. Executives and managers regularly access customer information and insights for making decisions.
- Infrastructure - There is a discipline and a system for gathering, analyzing and distributing customer insights. The right person gets the right information at the right time to make better decisions.
- Action - Customer focused companies have a bias for action. They apply the voice of the customer to strengthen relationships, make product improvements, change service procedures, and much more.
The real difference between a customer focused company and an ordinary company is financial performance. There is plenty of proof of that. So next time someone says, "it's in their DNA," go deeper and make it more practical.