The risk of NOT building customer centric capability


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For an organisation to be deemed ‘customer centric’ it will have developed the
capability to design and to deliver a unique customer experience – an
experience that profitably and positively impacts customer acquisition initiatives, customer
retention initiatives and the cross-sell
and up-sell initiatives. However, in order to profitably and positively impact
these three extremely important value drivers, the business needs the insight
to optimally allocate resources to profitable customers. Importantly,
‘profitable customers’ doesn’t only mean those whom are profitable today. It
includes those whom will be profitable in the future through normal commercial
engagement and through equally
important and sometimes intangible value contributions such as positive ‘word
of mouth’ and referral value.

We can confidently predict that the future will look
different from the world we inhabit today. How quickly or how slowly that
landscape changes remains highly uncertain. The future includes:-

  • New technologies that will better enable
    organisations to both ‘sense and deliver’ what consumers want
  • Interactive dialogue and 2-way conversations
    that provide free flowing information exchanges in both directions
  • Younger generations who have developed different
    buying patterns from older generations
  • Multichannel options for buying, interacting,
    problem solving and communicating
  • Evolving organisational design that is more
    dynamic and more team based than the traditional hierarchical structures

If businesses do not build customer centric capability they
simply will be unable to offer superior customer value propositions. They will
remain ‘mired’ in mediocrity and frustrated with their efforts that lead to
small, insignificant improvements that customers barely notice and lead to
nothing other than ‘better sameness.’ Their ability to deliver sustained,
superior business performance will be more ‘uncertain’ than their ‘customer
centred’ competitors.

Many CEO’s believe that to grow requires the seeking out of
new markets, new territories and/or acquiring new businesses. Many don’t
realise that they can grow (with much less risk) by tapping into and exploiting
their customer base. There is significant competitive advantage locked within existing
customer information. If businesses get
to understand their customers better they are able to provide more relevant and
meaningful engagement that becomes increasingly difficult for other suppliers
to provide or imitate.

If a customer purchases from more ‘categories,’ their future
profitability increases. If customers utilise and spend more across more
channels, they have a greater lifetime value. If the duration of the
relationship is increased, lifetime value increases, especially with higher
value customers.

Organisations need:-

  • Clarity of vision
  • A deep understanding of what that vision means
    to the way they manage customers
  • The foresight to ‘bring the customer into the
    boardroom ‘ – by that I mean the appointment of a Chief Customer Officer responsible
    for customer governance
  • A culture of continually asking ‘what would the
    customer think, say and do’ if he/she was a participant in the boardroom
  • Channel integration enabling a ‘single view’ of
    customer , irrespective of which channel is selected to engage
  • A deep understanding of customer journey’s such
    that the impact of various processes can be measured, rather than measuring the
    efficiency of the process
  • Business Intelligence capability to deepen
    understanding of current and future customers.

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.



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