Customer Centricity

In his book, “Reorganize for resilience, putting customers at the centre of your business” (Harvard Business Press, 2009) Ranjay Gulati demonstrates that companies looking to reestablish themselves after the recession will need to take an “outside-in” approach to customer service.  Customer centricity is not just a good idea; it is fundamental to business survival.  The customer centric approach to business requires both insight and action. These companies who organize around the customer are characterized by their agility, their ability to work across silos  and their obsession  with producing solutions to customers problems rather than simply trying to move products or services. 

Cutomer centricity is not a new concept, but for companies that are serious about customer service, this is a philosophy that asks leaders to relook at how they do business through the eyes of a very critical stakeholder.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, was famous for saying , “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” 

Here is a checklist for companies serious about customer centricity:

  • Have I identified distinct customer segments?
  • Do I know the special needs and wants of each segment? Have I asked them in either informal focus groups or by observing their current purchases?
  • Do I have products and services that meet these customers' needs and wants?
  • Have I created an environment that is attractive to each segment? Mid-lifers, for example, would welcome easier to read price tickets, chairs to sit in while considering a purchase, and more open areas.
  • How will I communicate with each segment? For each segment you identify, you should create a specific strategy around merchandise selection, display, signage, staff, pricing, and special events that addresses their needs.
  • Have I identified distinct customer segments?
  • Do I know the special needs and wants of each segment? Have I asked them in either informal focus groups or by observing their current purchases?
  • Do I have products and services that meet these customers' needs and wants?
  • Have I created an environment that is attractive to each segment?
  • Is my staff aligned with these segments? For example, if you have a large segment of younger customers, you should most likely have younger staff who can relate to this segment.
  • Is my staff trained to meet the requirements of these customers? And have I put a training program in place?
  • How will I measure success? What specific measures will I use to ensure that the program is working?
  • Is my technology sufficient to deliver the information about these customers? For example, can I implement real time data when I need it?

Contact us at andyb[at]andrewbrough[dot]com if you would like more information on our new Customer-Centricity Programme.