Customer is at the centre of everything we do in an organisation. Discuss this statement and how an organisation can benefit from listening to the “voice of the customer”. Introduction
Can a business exist without customers who buy the products? Is there a star product with no customers buying it? The only way for a product to become “the star product” is by having many people buying it. Thus the customer becomes the lynch pin of everything we do in organisations. Consequently, today’s competitive marketplace requires every organization to listen to the voice of its customers. In this discussion, the writer will endeavor to establish why the customer should be at the center of everything we do in organisations. Benefits of listening to the voice of the customer will also be articulated.
Customer, the centre of everything we do
Putting the customer at the centre of everything we do in an organisation, or being customer centric (as it shall be referred to in this essay), is operating the business from customers’ point of view; others define it as an ability of everyone in the company to learn about and satisfy the needs of the customers.
Every time we serve a customer, we should ask ourselves: If I were the customer in this situation how would this experience feel for me? Did the transaction feel simple and easy? Did my problem get resolved quickly? Did the team member I contacted first accept responsibility for making sure I got what I needed? Customers want to do business with companies they connect with emotionally, that speak their language, are sensitive to their culture. To make that emotional connection, we must put our customers at the center of everything we do.
This write will perceive an organisation as a circle not a hierarchy. At the center of the circle — the customers. Alongside them — the customer-contact team members. Farther out in the circle are the organisation’s leaders. At the outside of the circle are senior leaders. All of these, partner together to do the best job for the customers. Organisations can have many departments and products, but the customer expects to be serviced by one organisation. No-one in an organisation can know everything about all products and services. Customers don’t expect that but the organisational systems must work smoothly across all of the organisation’s businesses. It should be easy for customers to find the right team member quickly or the right channel to answer their question or satisfy their financial need.
Customer centric strategy means that all aspects of the business are subordinated to the decision of the company to concentrate on customers’ satisfaction. An organisation may be established that concentrates at pure financial aspects like short term profit but with time it may realize that in order to grow the business and differentiate itself from other market participants their activities should be focused on their customers. That means that company should know who its customer is, align all company’s resources to the customer and respond to the customer’s needs. To be really customer centric, the organisation should align all its business processes- product development, production, supply chain, customer care- to delivering the greatest value to its customers for the least cost.
For example if the organisation is a customer centric music company, it will be producing music that its customers want to buy, will make the music available in a way customers want to buy it and at a cost they are willing to pay. If it be a customer centric store, it will organize this store from customer perspective and not the organisation’s perspective, the shopping process will be easy for the customer, the shopping process will be tailored to customers’ needs and customers will find those products in the store which he would like to buy. This will encourage the customers to shop more often and spend more money in their favourite store, and if this happens the...
References: Booz Allen Hamilton, 2004, The Customer-Centric Organization: From Pushing Products to Winning Customers.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008,How consumer conversation will transform business: Achieving operational excellence series.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2006, Breaking Down Walls: How an Open Business Model Is Now the Convergence Imperative .
http://jlwatsonconsulting.typepad.com/my-blog/ accessed 20 March 2012
http://www.customerthink.com/blog/how_to_put_customer_needs_at_the_centre_of_business_strategy accessed 20 March 2012.
http://www.refresher.com/alrpmvoc.html accessed 20 March 2012
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