On Customer-Centricity

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Is your company customer-centric?

No? Join the club. According to 317 surveys released this week alone, anywhere from 97 to 98% of executives polled said their firms weren’t customer-centric (the other 2-3% didn’t understand the question).

This isn’t good news. According to the leading lights of the consultainment world, the key to business success today is: Be customer-centric!

How companies survived, let alone thrived, in the past without being customer-centric is a mystery to me. But let’s not dwell on the past, because things are different now. Consumers have changed. Apparently, they talk amongst themselves and share stories and recommendations. Who knew? Firms must now be customer-centric in order to deal with this changing behavior.

But how does your firm become customer-centric? The answer, according to a presenter at a conference I attended yesterday, is “focus on customer advocacy.” (Do you also hear the Beatles singing “won’t you please, please, please refer me, refer me, refer me, yeah, ooh.”)

I needed more help in understanding how to become customer-centric, however. This article helped tremendously. The critical success factor to being customer-centric? People. People, apparently, play a larger role in becoming customer-centric than products and services. I did not know that!

But it isn’t enough to have highly motivated, highly engaged people. Oh no no no. It isn’t that easy. It takes teamwork. And not just at the bottom of the organizational pyramid, but at the top as well.

Which is why you can’t forget that to be customer-centric, it starts at the top.

But be very careful, because just one bad day can wipe out all your customer-centricity. Isn’t that right, Mr. Neeleman?

But the important question to address is why. Why become customer-centric? Because the payback is significant. Customer-centric companies outperform the S&P by 17% (it might be .17%, I can’t remember) .

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This post is an excerpt from my forthcoming book “Customer-Centric Firms Build Customer Advocates Through Winning Customer Experiences”. I’m available to speak at your firm’s next conference, by the way.

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Technorati Tags: Marketing, Customer-centric, Customer experience

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