What do you think of this theory: As customer-centricity of an organization increases, customer experience management return on investment also increases.
Exploring the Theory
This theory originated as an observation of my own experience as a customer and results of studies that contrast top management’s ratings of their own customer-centricity against the perceptions of those executives’ customers. Typically five times as many executives think theyre customer centric relative to the number of customers who agree. Recently I explored this theory with customer centricity experts Jeanne Bliss1, Jill Griffin2, and Dick Lee3 in a roundtable discussion that was recorded live on Focus.com. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
Defining Customer Centricity How do you define customer-centricity?
The orientation of a company to the needs and behaviors of its customers rather than internal drivers such as short-term profit, cost-cutting, operational metrics, etc. (Griffin; Wikipedia)
The degree of alignment between the company’s metrics (what people are rewarded and recognized for) and processes with official statements about customer Continue reading →
Customer satisfaction as a business concept has been around for more than 20 years — but customer experience management (CEM) has only been discussed over the past several years. So it’s no wonder that CEM is often equated with earlier concepts. The articles listed below can be instrumental in clarifying customer experience as a unique set of truths, essential for business success with 21st century customers.
1. Perspective: customer experience is defined entirely by the customer, not the solution provider.
‘Customer-focus is important for certain job roles, but for other roles, we rely on our own wisdom.’ This is poisonous thinking when some parts of your company are excused from customer-focus.
When anyone in your organization is disconnected from customers, their decision-making may in fact interfere with your company’s customer centricity and ability to maximize value to and from customers. Certainly, customers aren’t expected to have the wisdom required to run your company — but the point is, that your wisdom in all areas should be guided by customers’ values and concerns. Like a set of dominoes, what happens in one part of the company has a ripple effect on customer-facing employees, and possibly on customers as well. Every group in your enterprise can benefit from understanding their own role in improving or hindering the customer experience.
How can every part of your organization get involved in customer experience management?
The hardest thing for competitors to copy is the customer experience you create. And engaged employees are the most dynamic and influential force in creating superior customer experiences. While 80% of executives say they want to use customer experience management (CEM) as a form of differentiation in 2010, only 11% would call their CEM approach "very disciplined".1 This mis-match of intentions and capabilities reveals a huge opportunity for sustainable differentiation — if your company is one of the few that is willing to adopt a disciplined approach.
Employee engagement correlates with customer engagement. Many companies, including JetBlue, evaluate their progress in engaging employees for superior customer experiences. The company asks Continue reading →
It's easy to be ethnocentric about customer-centricity! Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one’s own culture. How often do we view customer experience, loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and customer care from the perspective of our own company culture? I'd venture to say "too often"!
In the name of customer advocacy, we tend to have a number of exciting customer relationship-building programs in place: advisory boards, user groups, reference programs, satisfaction surveys, experiential marketing, personalized customer communications, and much more. These are indeed useful efforts — but their usefulness is exponential when we put aside ethnocentrism for true customer-centrism. The key is in examining our motives.