22 March 2021 - by Pieter Van den Meutter
Creating an organization that is able to swiftly react and adapt to ever-changing customer needs and expectations is a tall mountain to climb. Also, the culture shift towards a customer centric mindset and the advantages that come with it are talked about a lot. And most of what is being said is true, relevant and valuable.
However, as resources are limited, organizations are forced to make choices and set priorities in order to keep things feasible and realistic. In addition, this shift in mindset requires an “end-to-end” approach, since it touches every figurative “muscle” in an organization. If you want to get your company in the best possible shape to outperform customer expectations, it makes sense to train all of them, right? Nevertheless, as with all workout programs, it is better to build it gradually rather than overtraining and exhausting all those “muscle groups” at same time. This only results in soreness, injuries, demotivation and often, a lack of progress, even degression…
Implementing customer centricity requires more than just a mindset though, it needs to be tangible and real. In other words, it all starts with setting well-defined, challenging (but realistic) ambitions and goals. Next, turn your mission into action by defining action points, measure the outcome by KPI’s and formalizing ownership and accountability through corporate and personal targets.
Putting the customer at the core in order to provide a positive customer experience and build long-term satisfying relationships will result in strengthened customer loyalty, increased customer advocacy, higher retention rates, increased lifetime customer value, lower cost to serve, … to name just a few of the benefits.
Once these goals are set, the journey can start to find how this can be achieved and how this will contribute to coping with the challenges companies need to deal with as a consequence of the VUCA world we live in today. But how?
Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous (VUCA): in today’s rapidly changing environment, the only constant is the inevitability of change. As if it was still necessary, 2020 has proven this to all of us.
A practical consequence is that the world might look different at the end of a project, mindset shift, change trajectory or transformation, than it did at the conception phase. And this is certainly also true for our customers and their expectations. This means along the trajectory, we need to be prepared to adapt to the changing circumstances.
An agile way of working can give companies the much needed adaptability to handle the ever changing market they play in…
You can consider agility as a form of continuous improvement. More concretely, having empowered multidisciplinary teams with a multitude of profiles, skills and points-of-view, who can frequently re-evaluate and adapt the project/initiatives to address changing circumstances. While this is easier to implement for young start-up companies than for established companies with a long history and therefor powerful legacy (on a system, cultural and organizational level), it is well worth the effort for any organization with the ambition to survive and thrive, today and tomorrow.
Because it’s a fact that agility as a tool - not a goal in its own - can be a powerful enabler to adapt to the VUCA world we live in.
However, fostering and nurturing such an agile customer centric approach requires organisations to overcome a couple of key challenges:
Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the customer centric “spark” can be ignited across the entire organization. Big or small, top down or bottom up… and everything in between. The bad news is, it’s everything in between… there is no sweet spot. It is important to keep the elements in mind that were mentioned earlier. Often the issue with so many options is that choices are difficult and at the end of the day, nothing is done at all… Sounds recognizable doesn’t it?
If it does… here is the first step you can take in order to help you get started and start “working out” to get into that desired shape, allowing you to reap the benefits of a customer centric mindset: get to know your customer and his needs. But how?
Here are some concrete tips to do so:
At bluecrux we combine our ecosystem of advisory services with our innovative mindset on digital technology applications helping our customers build the value chains of tomorrow, for a better future. If you would like to know more, let’s connect and have a chat. We are happy to discuss your challenges & move your company forward as well!