Business writers like to talk about the benefits of being customer-centric. But what does it mean, and how do you know whether a company is customer-centric or not?
Like any other aspect of organizational culture, being customer-centric can be hard to define. There's no simple test or checklist that says you're customer-centric.
Being customer-centric is about considering the impact on customers in every decision the company makes. A customer-centric organization will:
- Prioritize efforts that remove pain points for its customers.
- Consider the impact on customers on decision-making throughout the organization, not just in the traditional areas of customer service and sales.
- Train employees in all departments that the decisions they make can affect customers, including back-office functions.
- Have leadership that takes an active interest in customer issues, both in aggregate and also individually.
These are all organizational outcomes, they are the things that come naturally to a customer-centric organization as part of its culture.
Getting there is another matter. That's where the five competencies Jeanne Bliss talks about in Chief Customer Officer 2.0 come into play.