From Organisation to Customer Centric

20 June 2014

In today’s business landscape, almost every company is facing the challenge to move from organisation centric to customer centric, putting the customer at the heart of all activities. In this blog, I explain some of the key changes that I see happening today.

customer centricity

Looking from the outside: start from ‘real’ customer needs

Understanding your customers’ needs and desires and how they interact with your business is key in building long-lasting customer relationships. The major mind shift here is to start from what the customer really needs, instead of what you ‘think’ the customer needs.

What you ‘think’ is not good enough.

What actually matters is the customers’ behaviour, attitude and emotions while looking to fulfil a need. This can be accomplished by e.g. looking at the cases you get in the contact centre, analysing website behaviour, or getting feedback directly from the customer. That’s what matters.

Change ahead: Crossing the boundaries of your functional departments

Most companies are organised in functional departments (marketing, sales, service delivery, product management, support, …) As a result many employees focus on specific functional expertise, looking at only a small part of the customer experience and as such have lost the overall feeling for the customer needs and issues. In many cases, the company’s customer-focused efforts are uncoordinated or even in conflict.

Marketing, sales, delivery and support should act and think as one company to serve the customer.

To become really customer centric, we should consider the customer interactions across the functional boundaries of the departments.

And take the consequences on organisation structure, employee objectives and company culture.

The customer does not care about your internal organisation

Actually, the customer does not care about your internal organisation. He does not want to know which department to contact to solve problems or issues. For the customer, your organisation is just one component in the whole ecosystem. The customer is looking for good service, easily accessible and simple to use.

We should not expose our internal organisation to the customer.

We should even design our internal organisation from the way we want to be seen from the outside. For many this is a major mind shift.

Your customer is digital

On top of all this, more and more customers are leveraging digital innovation to obtain information from a wide variety of sources. Hence, redefining the traditional relationships between themselves and the companies serving them.

As a consequence your customer strategy should become a digital customer strategy, since customers are converting to digital channels, digital information, digital products and digital services.

Digitise or die!

Exploiting digital technology that is all around has become a mantra.

Think and act as a “customer”

What is needed is a fundamentally change of business model, both in terms of structure and culture. A model where everybody thinks and acts as a customer. We should take customer centricity really serious in everything we do. It’s not just a cosmetic change. It's a matter of survival in the digital world.

I am curious to know your opinion.

(Take a look at my blog on outside-in architecture, if you are interested in some more outside-in thinking.)

Johan Merckx

Written by Johan Merckx

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