Customer Centricity - Turning your business model around

26 June 2014

In a previous blog I wrote about moving from an organisation centric to a customer centric strategy. In this blog I expand somewhat more on this theme by considering the impact on your business model.

Today’s organisations are typically designed according to a traditional linear value chain of marketing, sales, delivery and support. But if we really want to put the customer central stage, we have to look differently at our organisation model. And turn it around. Make it a dynamic network driven by the needs of our customers.

linear value chains are out

From fixed processes to dynamic journeys

In a dynamic digital world, we cannot predict the behaviour of the customer.

Trying to force the customer in a fixed process of marketing, sales, delivery and support will frustrate the customer. And finally he may decide to give up. What about first delivering a free experience and prove your added value? And then trying to sell products or services? Or trying to co-create with our best customers? Get early feedback and then use early adopters as ambassadors for our brand? What about pro-actively contacting our customers about new market trends? Based on their personal profiles.

From linear value chains to multi-disciplinary customer engagement teams

A customer does not care about your internal structure.

He wants to interact smoothly with a partner that can help him to solve his problems or fulfil his needs. If he wants to validate a solution to a problem, he wants to talk to an expert. If he wants to change his address, he wants to do it easily via the website. If he wants to discuss commercial agreements, he wants to talk to a sales person. Maybe in combination with an expert because he wants to compare different options. And if he is frustrated, he wants somebody to listen to him. Somebody who understands his needs and can answer his questions. Even if the solution lies outside our company, somewhere else in the ecosystem. And all these players should work together as an engaged team to serve the customer.

From segmentation to personalisation

Since we cannot predict the customer behavior, it becomes crucial to understand the personal context at every touch point of interaction.

Instead of using a standard segmentation approach, every interaction should be personalised based on customer context, needs, behaviour, previous experiences, market knowledge, ... This implies that we use every interaction as an opportunity to get to know the customer better. And that we create a trusted brand, so that the customer is ready to share his personal context with us.

Turn around your business model

Can we think a while about the impact of customer centricity on our business model?

Can we still afford to force the customer in our own internal processes? Or should we start from the dynamics of the customer journey to design our business model?

Can we still afford to have lineair value chains, build on top of functional departments? Or should we move to customer engagement models that integrate multiple disciplines in customer oriented touch points?

Can we still afford to drive our business from our own products and services? Or should we invest in better understanding markets and customers? And drive product and services from deep customer understanding?

Interesting challenges in a changing world! Looking forward to your thoughts.

Johan Merckx

Written by Johan Merckx

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