Building Internal Change Towards a Customer Centered Organization
Customer Experience is becoming massively important for companies in today's digital and connected world. Being a customer centered organization requires a clear understanding of the client's needs, technology and, often, cultural change within companies. In recent years, many enterprises have concentrated their efforts on the creation of Chief Customer Officers (CCO), already present in 6.7% of Fortune 1000 companies. But...is this enough to become a customer driven organization?
Let's take a holistic view of what’s needed:
No doubt, appointing someone who can "own" and improve the customer experience across-the-board is a winning approach.
Yet, critical pieces of the customer experience are normally fragmented and dispersed across enterprise "silos", such as marketing/brand, sales (and/or point-of-sale in retail), fulfillment (for product companies), delivery (for service companies), customer support, tech support, etc. These separate pieces each conform to their own internal business logic and core systems, and improving them separately tends to generate resistance across the groups, which makes it difficult to unlock larger changes.
This is why many companies now opt for a Chief Customer Officer, or an executive-level committee. Although equally valid, both ways present difficulties:
Risk of moving the focus away from the consumer. Appointing a single CCO avoids diluting responsibilities, but if he reports into a specific department (Marketing, Sales, Support, etc.) he's at risk of becoming a pawn of this department's goals, instead of looking after the customers' needs.
Creating a bottleneck. A committee can be more empowered than a single person to resist pressures within the company and sticking with the original goal (being responsive to customers!!). But unless very well managed, the committee becomes a limbo where ideas are eternally discussed without being translated into practical initiatives.
Despite the differences in the approach, both, CCO and committee, have to deal with the same challenge: Changing the status quo within the business as usual.
Key questions need to be asked:
- How to move from a product/service to a complete solution that addresses and responds directly to customers’ demands?
- How to integrate collaboration between business units to share data and look at the customer as a person, and within his/her context?
- How to incorporate the new sets of skills and capabilities needed to drive the organization towards the goal of putting the customer as the center by transforming itself?
The conclusion is clear: Whether CCO or executive-level committee is the choice, execution is the key.
Becoming a customer centered organization is a step-by-step process, starting by finding and launching key 'change' initiatives which customer-facing business groups can support and champion. Once these succeed, companies can find bigger ways to stitch together the sustainable fabric of a "customer first" organization.
Imaginatik has nearly 20 years of experience helping companies build internal change and transformation programs to unlock innovation and grow. We're well versed in helping you deal with all the tricky issues en-route to becoming truly customer-first.
Let us guide you in processes such as this! Contact us and we’d be happy to discuss your specific situation further.