Customer Centric

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What is a Customer Centric Organization?

What drives your organization? Is it the voice of the customer and their experience with your organization or is it your internal processes and the products that you develop? The world is changing to a consumer-driven environment, where customer connections are the most vital links to profits and success. Building and sustaining meaningful relationships with your customers and your producers is more important than ever. That relationship starts with their data. Organizations that know their clients and agents from all angles are in the best position to keep them happy. Transitioning from product centricity to customer centricity requires more than just rewriting a vision statement. Getting it right requires to focus on developing strong relationships with the right customers instead of purely developing and marketing the right products.

[pic]The following is the model that I am using at the present time to help define exactly what it means to be a customer-focused / customer centric organization. I am not saying that this will be the final model. Perhaps there are other key disciplines that need to be added to improve the robustness of the definition of customer focus. This information has evolved in my work over the article Booz. Allen. Hamilton. It is based on and adapted from the ideas originally put forth by William H. Davidow and Bro Uttal in their 1989 book titled: Total Customer Service: The Ultimate Weapon (Harper & Rowe). The following text provides descriptions of the six constructs with the intention of providing operational definitions in each area.

Leadership: Vision & Support

When creating a customer centric organization, leadership toward that end is essential. Unless the leaders and the management team demonstrate commitment and passion for the customer, it is unlikely that customer-facing team members will be inspired to meet and exceed customer expectations. Successful customer centric leaders manifest both a vision for serving the customer as well as the commitment stay the course and support the vision and the employees working to achieve it.

Create & Deploy Service Strategies

Closely related to leadership is the area of creating and deploying service strategies. Fundamentally this is no different than strategic planning, except that the focus here is to create strategies which will drive customer centric change. Almost all organizations have strategic plans and marketing plans. Typically commitment to customer care and the level of service are not evident in those plans. Bottom line, customer-focus needs to be elevated to a strategic level of commitment or lip service will prevail.

Equip, Engage & Enable Employees

We used to use the word empowerment a lot. It is a great idea, but the term usually means different things to different people. What we really need is to facilitate employee engagement. The secret to employee engagement is setting employees up for success, helping them fulfill their critical roles in satisfying the customer. Equipping is the act of giving employees the tools and training they need to do their jobs (this is related to infrastructure & resources). Enabling (in this setting) is when managers and supervisors are actively facilitating employees work, helping employees to overcome challenges and barriers that prevent their success.

Master Service Delivery Processes

Many organizations take the time to understand their processes and work hard to make sure those processes are both effective and efficient. In fact, it is important to understand how the organization actually does service delivery. Process mapping is a tool that has been used to help identify and eliminate unwanted variation in manufacturing processes for a long...
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