The evolution of a customer centric business
Welcome to the second in a series of blogs from Beehive Research on the fundamentals of customer experience management. Here we discuss ‘Cx the evolution of customer facing businesses’ and how organisations can become more customer centric.
If you missed the first blog in the series you can read it here, Is the customer always right?
Typical characteristics of customer centric organisations
As businesses develop and grow they typically create a departmental structure with a head responsible for each section. Typically these ‘Heads’ have specific responsibilities for which they are accountable to the board. Some departments will be external facing with direct customer interaction, others more internally focused with limited, or no, customer interaction. Each department typically has targets or objectives to meet, often tied to an individual’s, or team’s, performance bonus. However, although departmental interaction will occur, it is not a given there is collective sharing or understanding of each other’s objectives.
External facing departments, such as contact centres, account teams, or sales & marketing departments, generally have a fairly good customer understanding, though that isn’t a given! In contrast, internal departments, such as Finance, IT, HR, Operations, etc. are often aware of customers but typically, having little interaction, don’t always have the full picture. Depending upon the culture and leadership provided by the board, two similar companies can function incredibly differently.
In some businesses the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. This can simply be due to a lack of interaction or understanding of the other’s objectives. Or, in really bad cases, interdepartmental competition, or political posturing, can exist, leading to teamwork within a department but a lack of interdepartmental co-operation. Whatever the cause of such situations, the effect can be the creation ‘silos’ or a ‘silo mentality’. From a customer experience perspective, and in extreme cases, this can create a number of issues:
- customer issues are passed ‘around the houses’ with no department making it their responsibility
- promises are made in promotions or advertising but other departments cannot deliver
- a blame culture where departments pass the buck elsewhere
- inability to solve a customer’s problem first time around
- inconsistent customer touch-points and mixed messaging
- poor customer retention and loyalty
At the other end of the scale is the idyllic customer centric organisation. I say ‘idyllic’ because in reality it’s very difficult to achieve, but the principle is everyone driving towards the same shared goal: making the customer experience exemplary. In customer centric organisations, there is leadership from the top that good customer experience is essential. Whether an internal or external facing department, solving a customer’s issue, taking responsibility, and inter-departmental understanding and co-operation become part of the culture.
Like ‘bees in a hive’ there is an altruistic and collective goal to ensure:
- that the promises being made are clear and can be kept
- departments collaborate and share their own objectives and goals
- customers have a seamless experience no matter what the touch-point
- the job gets done no matter what
A customer centric organisation puts the customer at the centre of its culture and does everything to simplify processes, empower employees, and deliver on its promises.
Where is your organisation on our customer centric model?
In order to improve customer experience an organisation first needs to evaluate honestly where it is on the customer centric scale. It may not be possible to reach the utopia of the ideal customer centric business, however any action that leads to a more centric approach can have profound effect on customers. By understanding ‘Cx the evolution of customer facing businesses’, the organisation can differentiate itself from the competition and deliver a more centric customer experience.
To learn more contact us, or take a look at our free pdf guide ‘The Fundamentals of Customer Experience Management’, which discusses all the topics in this blog series.
In our next blog we explore “What metrics to use in Cx research”.