I’ve read many papers, blogs and articles telling me what being Customer Centric is all about. I agree with most of them when they provide lists of the differences between the product centric and the Customer centric organization. I also like more recent views that we are in need of a more balanced network centric approach, taking all stakeholder interests and roles in the value creation process into account, although I feel many continue to overlook the (importance of the) Customer’s role in that process. But this is not the essence of today’s post.
The importance of boundaries
My issue with the many views, explicit or implicit, on Customer Centricity, is that they always seem to tell you what you need to stop and start thinking of or doing, but they hardly discuss or let you know where the boundaries are. Or at least discuss the notion of boundaries and their importance.
As a result many organizations get stuck in Voice of the Customer programs because they do not know how to handle the abundance and variance of feedback they collect, exhausting their resources with too many things to focus on and too little meaningful results, for Customer and company. And as a result Customer Experience programs turn into action plans or campaigns trying to create a Disney-like WOW-experience on every touch-point or even create completely new ones where “old” ones continue “as is”. And as a result many continue to try please every (potential) Customer with a big enough wallet to come through the door and then throw away the key. And, last but not least, many continue to think it is important to exceed Customer’s needs, whereas the rise of the mini-laptop, among others, prove otherwise.
4 Constraints to take into account
Thus, we are in need of boundaries or constraints, to prevent us from being ineffective. Here are some constraints I’d like to take into account:
- (Social) CRM tells me we need to focus on Customers with the highest (potential) engagement value
- Customer Experience Management tells me we need to focus on the touch-points that contribute significantly to both Customer’s and company’s desired outcome
- Service Dominant Logic tells me to focus on Co-creation of Value-in-use, for which “Customer jobs-to-be-done” is a good proxy
- Lean start-up thinking tells me to get out there to test our hypotheses (or assumptions) to prevent late failure
My own logic tells me I need these constraints to prevent me from wasting my resources and/or capabilities, because I firmly believe wasting my resources will ultimately result in wasting my Customer’s resources (be it time, money, effort etc.) as well. And that, I believe, is far from Customer centric.
What are your boundaries to Customer Centricity?