Ginger Conlon over at Think Customer: The 1to1 Blog has an interesting post about customer centricity at eBay.
Kip Knight, VP of Marketing for eBay North America presented ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Customer-Centric Companies’ along the lines of Stephen Covey.
The Seven Habits are:
Employees are genuinely excited about spending time with customers.
Top management is committed to customer-centricity.
The entire organisation has to understand and invest in gathering and acting on customer feedback.
Internal Sharing and Communication
Departments share feedback and other customer information.
Minimal Internal Corporate Politics
Knowing and acting on customer feedback must come before executives’ internal agendas.
Well-defined Consumer Target
The company has clear, data-based customer segments, and knows which customers it cares about most and why.
A formal strategy for collecting and acting on customer feedback.
Hardly anyone would argue with the list. It’s just plain common sense. So how do you go about putting the items on the list into practice? Do some items need to be done first and others to follow? How long will it take to put them into practice? And how do you measure your success in developing the Seven Habits? Unfortunately, neither Kip nor Ginger provide any answers to these questions.
A brief look at what we know about each of the Seven Habits shows that each is driven by many factors, that many of the factors are systematically interlinked with each other and that they all take time to develop. For example, we know that employee customer-orientation is driven by the organisation having a ‘service climate’, employees being highly motivated and employees being committed to the organisation. We also know that each of these three factors is driven by organisational socialisation (and many other factors too). So, just to increase employee customer-orientation we have to go to the heart of what makes the organisation, any organisation, a great one to work for. And that’s just the first factor!
Therein lies the problem with this list and all others like it. They are just oil on the water of the churning business sea. They look seductively simple on the surface; how difficult can it be to implement a short list?. In reality, they are fiendishly complex and putting them into practice takes a lot of time, effort and money. But nobody wants to read about hard stuff. Do they? So we get meaningless short lists instead, and without the detailed Users’ Fieldguide that should accompany every one.
What do you think? Is customer-centricity just a matter of checking off boxes on a list? Or is it more like the search for the Holy Grail?
Add a comment and get the conversation going.
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager