This story is a version of a post published here.
Making it easy for CEOs to build a Customer Centric Organisation.
Almost every CEO knows that he/she needs to fundamentally change how the company engages with customers in order to become a truly customer centric organisation. While such leaders have a customer-centric vision of what the organisation should look like and a logical plan for getting there, they are puzzled about how to fully engage the organisation to put the plan into action. Sometimes, vision isn’t enough!
True change comes when the employees feel emotionally connected with the vision and customer centricity gets ingrained in the culture of the organisation. Here are three things that a CEO should start doing in order to build a customer centric organisation:
Provide direction and purpose
Make everyone understand that this is cultural, not just a project
Commit to customer centric behaviour changes
A clear vision for customer centricity is critical and propelling. This vision must be an action plan that outlines how this vision will be delivered. The plan should be robust and must be broad enough to cover organisational change management and, perhaps, some organisational restructuring. This plan should clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of every employee in successfully rolling out the vision. This way, everybody knows what they need to do and how does it affect the outcome; avoiding confusion and chaos.
Finally, communicate your direction as clearly and concretely as possible and include prioritised actions with measurable targets. Most importantly include all internal stakeholders in strategy formulation so everyone feels vested in it.
One of the biggest mistakes CEOs make when moving to a customer-centric vision is to assume that their job is done once the plans have been developed and cascaded. To sustain the momentum in long term, constant and visible leadership energy for customer centricity is required. The leader must be seen and heard, expressing a genuine sense of urgency, commitment, and passion. Without these, it’s difficult for organisations to embrace the call to action.
A customer centric leader exhibits customer centric behaviours that motivates others to follow suit. Some key customer centric behaviours are:
- spend at least a day a month personally talking to customers to better understand their needs;
- ask what’s in it for our customers? at every decision, so that the team always considers the customer’s voice;
- call meetings to review customer feedback in the team at least once a month and invite other departments to these reviews;
- set the example in going online at least once a month to seek out customer comments and make a positive (direct or indirect) contribution to their conversations;
In conclusion, building a customer centric organisation is a prerogative for companies that wish to attain sustained growth. And it is in the hands of the CEO to spearhead this transformation. Would love to hear your comments and feedback on what more a CEO can do to build a customer centric organisation.