Many talk about being customer-centric. You too ! But most of the time it’s wishful thinking ! Here are 5 areas to work on. Bind them into a customer-focused program. I can help you for that.
- Listen to customers continuously A number of informations are available in the field that never gets up to the top. It’s not surprising. Most of the time, nobody ever asks for front line employees to report customers opinions. Employees are not trained to ask in a proper way. They’re not motivated to be day to day researchers. Who is actually caring for them ? Set up a “customer listening campaign” every year !
- Understand customers « needs and wants » to offer the ideal value proposition We are no more marketing products today. We sell solutions, service, image, experience and price is what we sacrifice to get all that. This is what we call “the value proposition”. When did you formalize your value proposition the last time ? How is it different from the one of competitors ? Do your staff people know about it ?
- Leave your offices and operation centers to visit customers and take all your staff with you ! Change your “open door day” into a “closed door day“. Go visit the clients facilities, send teams of employees to clients offices to interview their counterpart, teach your boss to go see a customer each week, even if you’re not in sales ! Open the minds of all !
- Implement the « reverse pyramid » model of organization Traditional organizational structures come out the army model where people at the top control people below. So, people life at work is commanded by the objective of “climbing to the top”. It’s obsessional and defeating since almost no one is reaching that level. Reverse this and put the front line people, those who are in day to day contact with clients at the top. Management is a supporting role. And the CEO and executive committee should be the most supporting.
- Build close and trustful relationships with customers and work together on problem solving Customer is king is an old saying that doesn’t mean much today. Customers are our partners in value creation. Together with them we should try to work on solutions. They now better than us what are their specific needs and the best way to create value is co-creation. Customer relationship is more than going out dining and drinking with them !
There are a lot more things to do when you want to become a true customer-focused enterprise but this could be a good start. Come to me if you want to start working on it.
Be inspired !