Start with Change Management when Creating a Customer-Focused Culture


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As with any new or strategic initiative, voice of the customer programs are not excluded when it comes to executives asking for a change management approach and process. It’s a common scenario – companies know they need to be more customer focused and set out to implement some kind of customer feedback process. After launching a survey or establishing a process to gather inputs, owners of these types of initiatives are charged with creating a formal change management process.

This sounds like a good approach, right?

Wrong. I think companies that think like this are missing the point. OK, maybe that is a little harsh. They aren’t totally missing the point, but they are out of sequence in thought. Change management seems to be the favorite scapegoat when it comes to the reasons why creating a culture of being customer focused is not as successful as it could be. I think it is because change management didn’t come first.

Consider the model below. This demonstrates employees have to first be made aware of why customer partnership and loyalty are important. Then they have to understand and believe it. Once that foundation is in place, they can act. Establishing this up front is critical to the success of customer feedback initiatives.

Customer Strategy ConsultingI’m not advocating that every organization has to undergo a full transformation of being customer focused before embarking on a customer feedback program, but an initial assessment of the situation to identify gaps in awareness, understanding, and belief should be done. Once the gaps in these areas have been identified, specific actions and communications plans can be created to address weak areas. Some issues may be more difficult to address than others, but measuring progress with a simple framework will help you to remain focused.

Katie Kiernan
Vice President, Consulting Services

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Katie Kiernan
As a consulting services vice presdient, Katie works her clients and the rest of the Walker engagement team to design programs that actively use customer and business insights to drive improvements and customer strategies within organizations.


  1. Hello Katie
    There are a number of assumptions that you are making and I am not at all convinced that these assumptions are valid.

    First, you are assuming that change management works. Having been involved in this field I can categorically state that traditional change management does not work. It is little like the ‘carrot and the stick’ – it makes people move forward some out of fear and others out of greed. Yet, it does not win their hearts. And as such as soon as the carrot and stick are gone or applied less rigorously the organisation goes back to the old ways or something like that. Where there is no going back the new ways are not worked at, applied with any enthusiasm – people are simply going through the motions doing the minimum they can get away with.

    Second, you are assuming that the employees are the problem. Is that by any chance because you are selling to management? My experience is that many employees know what does not work because they live that every day. And because they feel the pain and are immersed in the misery, they are crying out for change. The obstacles in the way are the Tops and the Middles. So any ‘change management’ to be effective has to start with the Tops and Middles.



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