For the past 6 years I have worked day and night to understand and apply concepts in the area of Customer Centricity. To then put it into book form was by far the easiest part of this project.
Having worked closely with executives on the strategic considerations of setting up Customer Experience Management (CEM) capabilities in their companies to make them more Customer Centric, I explored the many aspects of Customer Experience. I have seen Customer Centricity transformations fail and succeed. The general perception of this kind of transformations is that they are complex and take years to materialize, if ever. That’s where the majority of executives shy away. If there is one thing I want you to take away from this book is that a Customer Centricity transformation can lead to profound financial and cultural results in a short time frame of 12 to 24 months if the right people and approach are deployed.
The transformations that were successful and delivered results timely had four things in common:
You have a burning platform and consensus to change? Than this book will give you a flying start to what is needed to build a strong team and decide on the right approach. If you have a burning platform, but no consensus, team or approach, this book will give you new ideas how to create consensus first.
Most companies do not fully understand the role that Customer Experience plays to their business goals. Some collect and quantify data on the subject but do not circulate the findings or may measure and distribute the information but fail in putting this valuable information to good use. The extent of the problem has been documented in a Bain & Company survey. Only 8% of the customers describe their experience as “superior,” yet 80% of the companies believed that the experience they have been providing is indeed superior. With such a disparity, the prospects for improvement are small for those blinded companies.
Delivering a consistent and positive Customer Experience is the key for your brand and value creation. It is essential to know where improvement is required throughout the entire organization. The internal strategy, processes, management information and performance tracking must be designed for this purpose and thereafter, become an essential part of the organization. High performing companies place the Customer Experience on the same level as the stakeholder and employee value.
As pointed out by Ron Kaufman this book is about how companies can react in a structured and effective way to pertaining customer issues with the introduction of a target driven Customer Experience Management capability. It will not only have a quick and positive impact on the operational processes and systems, it also triggers a Customer Centric mindset in the employees and the collaboration between the areas of the business that previously didn’t understand one another.
The book is a summary of the information and ideas gathered from the many different sources, compiled, applied, tested and refined. I have purposely written this book in a way that gives you both abroad overviews of all Customer Experience aspects as well as a detailed and actionable way to implement management by objectives. I am using definitions, processes, frameworks and examples for companies of different sizes, industries and geographies to apply, so that this world can become a better one.
This book is not an arts or science book, although some people may see it that way. They may be impressed by the pictures, graphics, formulas and laws of Customer Experience. It is also neither a fiction nor a self-help book. My wish is to one day be able to write a book in one of those genres. It also is not a comic or spiritual book.
This is a business book, targeting professionals that are servicing consumers or other enterprises. I am writing this book for Customer Champions, people that are passionate about delivering a good Customer Experience. In particular those who work in industries like wireless service providers, hotels, airlines, insurance providers, credit card providers and banks. However not limited to these industries. I will discuss a very interesting case in chapter 2 on CEMEX USA. They are a cement company that has gone through a very successful Customer Centricity transformation to improve the Customer Experience. If even cement companies see the need for this and are able to reap benefits, then there is no industry that should shun this concept. They are committed to change the orientation of their company to be centered on the needs and behaviors of its customers, rather than internal drivers.
Customer Champions can be of every race, color and creed and work in large or medium size organizations and aspire to becoming large. Why do I make this last distinction? Because the larger the organization, the further the people that work for the organization will be physically and emotionally away from their customers. Most small and medium size enterprises are already centered on the customer. That does not necessarily mean they deliver a good Customer Experience though. For efficiency reasons larger companies typically have organized themselves around their products. Changing the business to center on the customer, calls for a structured data driven transformational approach.
The fact that you have picked up this book increases the possibility that you are passionate about Customer Centricity and thus that you are a Customer Champion within your organization, or that you would like to become one. Whatever the reason, I ask you to put on the hat of the Customer Champion while you read this book. I will address you wearing that hat.
When your company embarks on a Customer Centricity journey, results are attained already in the early stages through better communication with the customer and by managing their expectations and perceptions. Operational bottlenecks are ‘easily’ remedied, which decreases internal costs. These quick wins will have an almost immediate positive effect on individual customer expectations. Nevertheless, before you can create a sustained competitive advantage through a consistent brand image/perception across all customer segments, it may take you one to five years. The returns of your transformation are dependent on the quality of the people, tools and methodologies involved. Fact based and target driven approaches have gained fastest results.
I believe that by taking 5 steps, a huge impact can be made to any organization that embarks on a Customer Centricity journey in order to change the orientation of a company to the needs and behaviors of its customers and boost long term profitability. I call these the 5 Steps to Customer Centricity. To execute the 5 steps you need a strong and dedicated leader that I refer in this book to as the Chief Customer Officer (CCO), to gather the right facts, make the company understand and follow what the data is telling, drive the transformation and getting all executives believe in the journey and support the change. Customer Experience Management is a companywide competence, not the function of a happy few. The CCO and his or her team can open the door, but the executives, middle management and rest of the employees must enter by themselves.
Is your company ever in dire straits and in need for a fact based and holistic effort to improve the Customer Experience? Is there any company that can really afford not to be Customer Centric?×