Customer Centricity = Sustainability = Customer Centricity = Superior Business Performance


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In a recently published article (MIT Sloan Management Review – How to Become a Sustainable Company)the authors point to a study that supports the view that ‘high sustainability’ companies significantly outperformed their counterparts over an 18 year period in terms of both stock market and accounting criteria, such as return on assets and return on equity. Also, stock market performance was higher and there was lower performance volatility. We can therefore conclude that sustainability makes good business sense.

The term ‘sustainable company’ is spoken about and referred to fairly frequently these days. At the core of this trend is the fact that consumers and the general public are not satisfied with businesses that focus solely on short-term profit maximisation. People want businesses to be far more considerate of broad based human needs.

In this context ‘sustainability’ refers to a business philosophy based on balancing financial, social and environmental considerations.

I am a firm believer and supporter of ‘sustainable enterprise’ – I also have this expectation that if a business can balance financial, social and environmental issues then surely they should add ‘customer experience’ to the list? After all, why waste the energy and effort to address social and environmental considerations (which ‘speak’ to us and can therefore be used to create greater levels of loyalty and advocacy) if they don’t design and deliver a differentiated customer experience.

Sadly, I’m a customer of a couple of ‘sustainable’ companies that deliver a customer experience that is mediocre at best and downright unacceptable at worst. This got me thinking from two perspectives – firstly, building organisational capability for sustainability is similar to building organisational capability to deliver differentiated experiences. Secondly, if an organisation is committed to ‘sustainability’ yet doesn’t focus on customer experience, should we be more accepting of mediocrity in delivery of those customer experiences? I say NO! NO! NO! In fact, Customer Experience and Sustainability should go hand in hand – one without the other is indicative of opposing forces.

Your thoughts?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Leather
Doug is a leading expert in Customer Management working globally with large blue-chip organisations. He is best described as a Customer Management Evangelist/Activist as a result of his broad multi-industry and multi-country insights into customer management capability understanding, best practice application, customer experience, business models and business performance improvement. He is a Wharton Business School Alumnus.


  1. Good morning (from Geneva, Switzerland) Dough.

    FYI I am starting to work on a DBA research on CEM (Customer Experience Management) and sustainable business (“How CEM can transform businesses and make them sustainable. Examining the impact of CEM on the bottom line over the medium- long term, through an increase in Customer and Employee Satisfaction).

    Any suggestions, advices from an expert like you would be highly appreciated.

    Quick intro regarding myself: I have been working in the CX filed for almost 20 years and I have decided to get closer to the academic world, this is why I will start this DBA (end of November) with the Management School of Grenoble (France) and Webster University of Geneva.
    The goal of my project will be to demonstrate a link between CEM and long-term business sustainability: at the same time I will try to come up with a framework top executives can use to “justify” investments in the CEM and “evangelize” the CX work across the corporate world.

    Any suggestions from you would be highly appreciated. You can find me on LinkedIn at

    Thank you

  2. Hi Gianfranco – thanks for reaching out.
    Suggest you grab a copy of my book – ‘The Customer-Centric Blueprint’ – – there is a chapter on The Business Case for Customer-Centricity. I can send additional info that has been summarised in the appropriate chapter. Suggest communications via email – [email protected]. Also need to mention that I approach this from the angle of customer driven growth – in other words organisations need to develop capabilities that allow them to become massively good at acquiring, retaining and developing targeted clients. Customer Experience is only 1 dimension (of 24) in this system – kind regards, Doug


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