Executives Report Customer Centricity Drives Revenue Yet Major Barriers Stand in the Way


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Customers are the lifeblood of every organization. And yet most don’t know enough about their customers, their interactions, their preferences, what they’ve said across social channels, if they are happy, or if they are thinking about defecting to the competition, and why.

It’s not due to lack of trying. Companies are struggling to become nimble enough to first understand and then respond quickly and accurately to customer needs, across all departments, particularly customer service, sales & marketing and engineering, those which are most concerned with customer interaction. This requires placing the customer at the center of the organization.

We recently surveyed 130 executives at the 2012 Customer Care Leadership Forum, to get their thoughts on the importance of customer centricity, the value of this strategy, and specific barriers that stand in the way to achieving customer centricity. Executives report significant benefits to placing the customer in the center of the business, yet the growing number of enterprise systems and social channels, the geometric growth of data, and internal and external silos, all contribute to block the path to customer centricity.

Here’s a closer look at some of the key survey findings:

– 63 percent of respondents believe that the biggest value of a customer-centric strategy is to drive revenue.

– 69 percent of respondents noted that the most prominent barrier to customer centricity is the inability to collaborate and share information across sales/marketing, customer service and product engineering functions. This is in spite of organizations having implemented collaboration platforms and social communities.

– Moreover, 42 percent of respondents estimate that their companies have visibility into less than a quarter of information across all interaction channels, including social streams.

– 65 percent noted that they do not (54 percent) combine social data with enterprise content or are not sure (11 percent) of whether their organizations combine this data in customer service and support operations. Additional survey findings can be found in the news release.

It’s clear that information is the “make or break” ingredient to achieving customer centricity. Understanding what information is available, how to consolidate it across silos, systems, teams, geographies, and how to make sense of it all – are the keys to establishing a culture of customer centricity.

Would you classify your organization as customer centric? If so, what strategies do you have in place to ensure all customer facing groups have insight into customer information across enterprise and social channels? If not, what barriers do you face?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Diane Berry
Diane Berry is Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communication of Coveo, and leads the organization's strategic positioning, go-to-market strategies, and its communication with all constituencies. Ms. Berry previously held executive roles at Taleo Corp, SelectMinds and Smyth Solutions.


  1. Your survey is absolutely accurate. and in every respect from my point of view The way. or system, in which customer data are gathered, stored, flow, are shared, and applied often separates companies that are truly customer-centric, companies that are striving to be, and those that are still feeling their way in the dark.

    One way of defining a customer centric culture is that it is having a single, integrated view of the customer across the enterprise so that the loyalty and advocacy behavior of all constituents – especially customers, suppliers, and employees – is optimized. Leveraging customer data is a pivotal ingredient of customer centricity. Profitability marks companies that are effective at using customer data to focus the organization, and the companies which have superior cultures. In these organizations, creating optimal customer experiences is a #1 priority.

    As your study results suggest, the majority of companies understand, and even believe in, the importance of a collaborative culture and effective use of customer profile and insight data to drive customer behavior and reach financial goals. But understanding, and acting with clarity and purpose, are two quite different things. In football terms, these companies can see the goal post, but often find major challenges and impediments in getting there.

    Customer centricity barriers can be many and varied. Sometimes it’s restrictive company structure, i.e. with departmental or group communication silos and chimneys, sometimes it’s lack of availablility of sufficient resources to develop a robust data system, sometimes it’s sales tactics over customer relationship strategy, sometimes it’s lack of management focus, priority, or even recognition. It’s such an important issue to me that I wrote an entire book – One Customer, Divisible – on exactly this subject; and recently gave a presentation on this customer centricity and using profile and research data for building advocacy behavior among customers for the Center for Business Analytics at Villanova University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BtTsiT1MiM.

    In summary, kudos for this timely and well-stated blog!!


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