You Know You Don’t Have a Customer-Centric Strategy When …


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Customer-centricity. Loyalty. Blah blah blah. Let’s face it, when it comes down to it, if you’re an executive worth your salt, you know the truth: Customers just get in the way.

They whine. They take up valuable call center time. They’re never happy with the way you do business. They hate the product. Or they want it to work. And, oh, if only they’d stop returning everything.

They want the service offered at their convenience, when they’re best able to make use of it.

And they always want discounts. And they notice every single price change, especially those made between their quotes and their final bills.

They want you to remember their name, their purchases, their specific needs. They want to deal with the same agent and they yell if they’re put on hold.

What a pain. If only they’d just turn over their money and be done with it.

Who really needs a customer-centric strategy, anyway? Clearly, you don’t. But how can you be sure you’re not kowtowing to customers? This list, polled from our guru panel and other experts, can help you make sure you keep all talk of strategy and customer-centricity at bay.

Top 20 signs that you don’t have a customer-centric strategy

    20. Your executives say "customers come first" publicly but privately call customers a "pain in the backside."

    19. You invite customers to provide feedback and no one gets back to them after the automated thank you

    18. Your marketing people have never even seen the customer service center they write so glowingly about

    17. You haven’t done a satisfaction survey of the customer base in the last two years

    16. You call customers "units"

    15. You’re an ISP and your phone recording advises customers to go to the web site for information on service outages

    14. You talk about churn rather than customer retention

    13. Your web site says "under construction"

    12. The sandwich bar is closed from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch

    11. The bank is open only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays

    10. A proposition is something you think you should never end a sentence with

    9. You put 50 check-outs in a store but staff only five of them on a Saturday

    8. You send a mailing asking the customers to respond with their name and address

    7. You put milk, bread and eggs at the far end of the store

    6. Your executive management team can’t name your 10 most valuable customers

    5. You allow the staff to park in all the closest spaces

    4. Your boardroom slogan is "customer-first" and your agents are rated by fastest-call time

    3. You follow up an advertising campaign boasting about your customer service by slashing the number of contact agents

    2. Your idea of customer intimacy is putting both hands in your customers’ pockets

And the No. 1 sign that you don’t have a customer-centric strategy is 

    1. You measure success by how big your personal office is
Gwynne Young
Independent Contractor
Gwynne Young is a former newspaper writer, columnist and copy editor who has managed online content for several companies, including and Gartner. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


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