Customer-Centricity! Oh, I’m Doing that Already!


Yeah right! I had a really interesting discussion with a prospective client recently. He is the MD of a multi franchise vehicle business. Successful? – no doubt. Customer-Centric? – I don’t think so. Yet he was adamant he had ‘customer-centricity’ under control. They were busy hiring someone who was going to drive this initiative. This is a classic example of a refusal to admit to the current reality. A refusal to fully understand what’s wrong with the current way they’re running the operations. A refusal to really understand what customer-centricity is all about.
Will these refusals lead to business failure? I certainly don’t believe so. But I do know that they will lead to lost opportunity. And what really agitates me is a verbal commitment made to developing themselves as an internationally recognised exemplar of customer experience. How, I ask with tears in my eyes? How are they going to enable disruptive change by doing more of what they’ve always been doing? Time will tell. I only wish that people would stop making bold statements that they’re never going to deliver upon, unless they develop a REAL understanding of their current reality, a REAL understanding of the reality to which they aspire, and REAL capacity for change.

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Customer-Centric Transformation a no-brainer: Check out why!


I’m guilty! I admit that I’m a customer-centric evangelist because quite frankly, how else can you build meaningful competitive advantage? Customer-centricity is all about differentiation and it’s almost impossible to sustain differentiation around product, price and distribution footprint. But you can sustain differentiation around your customer knowledge, insights and understanding.

Here are 3 questions designed to get you thinking a little differently about the criticality of developing customer-centric capability within your organisation. These ideas are attributed to Don Peppers & Martha Rogers of Peppers & Rogers Group, whom I worked with very briefly around 11 years ago.

1)      Who is the one stakeholder, whom if you maximised the return thereof, would benefit ALL stakeholders?  So think about this – there are generally 5 major stakeholders in businesses today – society, partners, investors, customers and employees. Maximising the return for the investor is not necessarily good for the customer! Maximising the return for the employees doesn’t mean ALL other stakeholders will benefit. Maximising the return for the Customer, on the other hand, certainly does benefit all other stakeholders. This is why the principles of customer-centricity are so important. If an organisation is unable to propagate a supply-demand chain then they are unable to supports investors and all other stakeholders.

2)      Would you agree that customers create 100% of business value in almost all cases? Customers create value for businesses every quarter by purchasing products and services. They also create value in another way which is referred to as lifetime value (LTV). LTV is based upon their intention to continue doing business with, and paying money to the organisation. That LTV goes up and down in value, as does a stock/share portfolio. Any reduction, or potential reduction, in that value (brought about possibly through a poor engagement or experience) is bad news for the organisation. This level of understanding and insight of that value change is generally not available within organisations so this reduction in value is not reported to shareholders , albeit that it is akin to the company reporting lower earnings which in almost all cases results in company stock/shares losing value. My friends at Peppers & Rogers have a metric for this which they refer to as ‘Return on Customer’ and this metric is designed to capture both types of value created (actual and LTV) to balance the short term/long term impact of customer value. ROC = (Profit made on customer today + change in LTV)/Initial/beginning LTV.

3)      What do shareholders & investors really want? Most shareholders and investors want confidence that leadership is able to grow a company organically. That means that the organisation will have developed capabilities to Acquire customers, to Retain them and keep them buying from the business, to grow them and to get them to buy more from the business. They’d also want confidence that leadership is able to guide investment and understand the cost-to-serve different customer cohorts/segments to best manage financial return. If the business can demonstrate these capabilities then they are providing REAL value to customers which means they’re providing real value to shareholders/investors at the same time

Customers are a scarce asset. They are valuable and unique. They are measurable. They are the biggest limitation to growth and to understand this will impact the decisions we make.

So…………within your organisations, if customers are the most important asset in your business, who is managing them as such. What operational framework/ architecture/ business model are you using to optimise that asset? Who is tracking the value of the customer today and the value of the customer tomorrow? What does your customer dashboard look like?

Comments?

The Challenges of Implementing Customer-Centric Strategy – What creates the problem?


Let’s face it. There is very little new about the concept of customer-centricity. There is however, plenty of room for improvement in both strategy and execution.

What creates the problem?

  • The traditional functional and product silo design of organisations creates serious problems. In these instances it’s almost impossible to operationalise around ‘the customer.’ Each silo invariably has its own operational structure, own processes, sometimes its own technology, its own distribution model and very often its own ‘sales’ team. Joining up these silos to deliver a unique and distinctive experience is often a ‘step too far.’
  • ‘Slash & Burn’ cost-cutting is not a solution. Customers are not all created equal and shouldn’t all be treated in exactly the same way. Customers are a finite resource and their value lies in their business and value today, as well as their business and value tomorrow – referred to as Life Time Value. (LTV). It’s not in any organisations interest to engage in activity/behaviour that results in the reduction of LTV.
  • Developing and implementing organisational capabilities that enable a customer-centric business model creates structural and integration challenges. Many leaders do not have the guts to commit to the required transformation. Furthermore, personal incentives are often in conflict with the effort and investment needed to develop customer-centric capability.
  • Many organisations are unable to evolve from the mental model of ‘having’ customers to ‘being’ a customer.  As such they’re unable to recognise that they need to provide value that addresses the ‘customer need’ – rather than ‘selling them’ what they have. They are unable to emphasize ‘customer well-being’ in ALL decision making
  • Customers are a finite resource and the source of all revenue and profit, today and tomorrow. They are therefore the most valuable asset of any organisation. In most cases there is no-one with the responsibility of managing that asset. There is no one responsible for knowing and understanding the value of the customer today and tomorrow. There is no one who is able to provide a comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer. There is no one who is responsible for creating customer strategy at the highest level of the organisation in order to maximise the drivers of customer value management viz  REAP – Retention, Efficiency (cost-to-serve understanding), Acquisition and Penetration (customer development, cross-sell & up-sell)
  • ‘Customer Management Illusion.’ Living in a fool’s paradise. Research regularly proves the chasm that exists between what senior executives believe customers think of them and their companies versus what customers actually think. An Accenture study highlighted that 75% of CEOS’ believed that their organisations were customer-centric yet 59% of customers said customer service was somewhat to extremely dissatisfying. (NB: Customer Service is not customer management or customer experience – it is only 1 attribute of a customer-centric business). In a study by the CMO Council 50% of CEOS believed their organisations were extremely customer-centric. Less than one tenth of customers agreed.

Operationalising a customer-centric business model is complex and time consuming. Developing a deep understanding of customer needs, breaking down silos and developing the capability to enhance the customer experience is a good place to start.

Please add your inputs & comments

Customer-Centric Transformation: What Good Looks Like – Retention – Managing Dissatisfaction – Part 11d of 14


Designing and executing a customer-centric business model requires end to end organisational alignment. Customer-centric capability development cannot take place in isolation to the rest of the business. The customer-centric journey requires a clear quantified understanding of current organisational capability across all 14 capability areas of the SCHEMA® Customer Management framework in the centre of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint below. As important as an understanding of current customer management capability is, so too is an understanding of the capability to which the organisation aspires.

Each week I’ll address another single capability area, sharing with you the Transformation Intent to which your organisation should commit to, as well as ‘What Good Looks Like’ for those organisations that have achieved a fairly high level of maturity in the respective capability area.

The REAP Customer-Centric Organisation Blueprint®

REAP CCOB for Blog

This week we are dealing with Retention which is one of the four Execution capability areas represented. The Execution layer relates to the capabilities and control levers needed to optimise customer value and include Retention, Efficiency (understanding cost to serve), Acquisition and Penetration (customer development, cross-sell and up-sell) – collectively referred to as REAP. These are capabilities and initiatives that can be optimised in the short term.

These capabilities support your ability to implement your chosen customer strategies and rely on the fundamental building blocks (Foundations) as well as the Enabling capabilities already discussed in Part 1 to 10 of this series of blog posts.

Each of the four Execution capability areas is made up of sub-components. In developing Retention capabilities it is important to understand the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it, important to consider how to retain through business as usual, important to consider pro-active retention activity and how to best manage dissatisfaction. Each of these areas is addressed in separate, individual blog posts.

Transformation Intent – Retention

“Retention is all about understanding your customer base and the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it. Coupled with this is the need to consistently deliver on your promise while ensuring that over-delivery is balanced against the overriding goal of doing just enough to ensure repurchase. A retention strategy also demands that you are pro-active with your customers, monitoring them for signs of defection and implementing constructive plans to generate customer commitment to repurchase. Should customers become dissatisfied, the right flows of communication alert you so that the issues can be addressed promptly and consistently, whilst solving the problem at a root cause level.”

What Good Looks Like – Managing Dissatisfaction

  • Communication of dissatisfaction is encouraged from customers both directly and via staff. It is pro-actively drawn out by internal processes, even if there is no formal complaint.
  • Complaints via regulatory bodies are dealt with enthusiastically and in a way that ensures their response standards are always met. Formal complaints received directly from customers are dealt with consistently across the organisation, to clearly defined standards which are themselves transparent to customers.
  • Analysis of complaints extends to deep ‘root-cause’ levels and reporting is reviewed by very senior managers who are told the whole story.
  • Issues likely to cause widespread dissatisfaction are dealt with quickly and incisively, using social and traditional media, making use of advocates and fans wherever possible.
  • Relationship recovery is seen as an integral part of the dissatisfaction management process and is applied re-actively and/or pro-actively against a clear set of criteria of where it should be applied.

 

For more insight into customer-centric business model innovation as well as more insight into this particular area of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint, please see my book “The Customer-Centric Blueprint’ – http://amzn.to/ZILg4y

Customer-Centric Transformation: What Good Looks Like – Retention – Retention through Business-as-Usual – Part 11b of 14


Designing and executing a customer-centric business model requires end to end organisational alignment. Customer-centric capability development cannot take place in isolation to the rest of the business. The customer-centric journey requires a clear quantified understanding of current organisational capability across all 14 capability areas of the SCHEMA® Customer Management framework in the centre of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint below. As important as an understanding of current customer management capability is, so too is an understanding of the capability to which the organisation aspires.

Each week I’ll address another single capability area, sharing with you the Transformation Intent to which your organisation should commit to, as well as ‘What Good Looks Like’ for those organisations that have achieved a fairly high level of maturity in the respective capability area.

The REAP Customer-Centric Organisation Blueprint®

REAP CCOB for Blog

This week we are dealing with Retention which is one of the four Execution capability areas represented. The Execution layer relates to the capabilities and control levers needed to optimise customer value and include Retention, Efficiency (understanding cost to serve), Acquisition and Penetration (customer development, cross-sell and up-sell) – collectively referred to as REAP. These are capabilities and initiatives that can be optimised in the short term.

These capabilities support your ability to implement your chosen customer strategies and rely on the fundamental building blocks (Foundations) as well as the Enabling capabilities already discussed in Part 1 to 10 of this series of blog posts.

Each of the four Execution capability areas is made up of sub-components. In developing Retention capabilities it is important to understand the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it, important to consider how to retain through business as usual, important to consider pro-active retention activity and how to best manage dissatisfaction. Each of these areas is addressed in separate, individual blog posts.

Transformation Intent – Retention

“Retention is all about understanding your customer base and the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it. Coupled with this is the need to consistently deliver on your promise while ensuring that over-delivery is balanced against the overriding goal of doing just enough to ensure repurchase. A retention strategy also demands that you are pro-active with your customers, monitoring them for signs of defection and implementing constructive plans to generate customer commitment to repurchase. Should customers become dissatisfied, the right flows of communication alert you so that the issues can be addressed promptly and consistently, whilst solving the problem at a root cause level.”

What Good Looks Like – Retention through Business-as-Usual

  • The organisation collects the customer data and attitudes it needs to get to know early phase customers recognising data that it had already collected during the acquisition process and may have from a previous relationship. It also makes it easy for the customers to do the same about the organisation.
  • The scope ‘basic’ service delivery is defined and the effect of over/under-delivering against this is understood in terms of business value and customer attitude. This understanding is communicated internally, along with the performance of competitors in the same areas.
  • The level of business-as-usual contact with customers is planned and managed to ensure it matches their needs in terms of media and frequency.
  • Customer-facing (by any channel) staff are encouraged and recognised for delivering great experiences in terms of tone as well as process accuracy and actively encouraged / enabled to solve as many customer issues as possible at the first contact.
  • Pricing, customer inertia and other possible exit barriers are carefully used as part of the organisation’s on-going retention activity.

For more insight into customer-centric business model innovation as well as more insight into this particular area of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint, please see my book “The Customer-Centric Blueprint’ – http://amzn.to/ZILg4y

Customer-Centric Transformation: What Good Looks Like – Retention – Pro-Active Retention Activity – Part 11c of 14


Designing and executing a customer-centric business model requires end to end organisational alignment. Customer-centric capability development cannot take place in isolation to the rest of the business. The customer-centric journey requires a clear quantified understanding of current organisational capability across all 14 capability areas of the SCHEMA® Customer Management framework in the centre of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint below. As important as an understanding of current customer management capability is, so too is an understanding of the capability to which the organisation aspires.

Each week I’ll address another single capability area, sharing with you the Transformation Intent to which your organisation should commit to, as well as ‘What Good Looks Like’ for those organisations that have achieved a fairly high level of maturity in the respective capability area.

The REAP Customer-Centric Organisation Blueprint®

REAP CCOB for Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we are dealing with Retention which is one of the four Execution capability areas represented. The Execution layer relates to the capabilities and control levers needed to optimise customer value and include Retention, Efficiency (understanding cost to serve), Acquisition and Penetration (customer development, cross-sell and up-sell) – collectively referred to as REAP. These are capabilities and initiatives that can be optimised in the short term.

These capabilities support your ability to implement your chosen customer strategies and rely on the fundamental building blocks (Foundations) as well as the Enabling capabilities already discussed in Part 1 to 10 of this series of blog posts.

Each of the four Execution capability areas is made up of sub-components. In developing Retention capabilities it is important to understand the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it, important to consider how to retain through business as usual, important to consider pro-active retention activity and how to best manage dissatisfaction. Each of these areas is addressed in separate, individual blog posts.

Transformation Intent – Retention

“Retention is all about understanding your customer base and the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it. Coupled with this is the need to consistently deliver on your promise while ensuring that over-delivery is balanced against the overriding goal of doing just enough to ensure repurchase. A retention strategy also demands that you are pro-active with your customers, monitoring them for signs of defection and implementing constructive plans to generate customer commitment to repurchase. Should customers become dissatisfied, the right flows of communication alert you so that the issues can be addressed promptly and consistently, whilst solving the problem at a root cause level.”

What Good Looks Like – Pro-active Retention Activity

  • Customer involvement at both the ‘content contribution’ and at deeper levels (both on-line and off-line) is enabled and actively encouraged.
  • Explicit retention messages are fed into on-going communication activity as well as forming the basis of specific retention activity where it is known to be most needed.
  • The way that customers want their loyalty recognised has been researched and reward schemes developed that consider experiential as well as product rewards. Alternatively, a clear, strategic decision has been made not to reward loyalty.
  • Customers are scored for their likelihood to leave and are constantly monitored for signs that they may do so. Mechanisms are in place to pre-empt and prevent an exit decision. Where this fails an effective ‘Save’ process is in place with the highest quality staff and realistic incentives in place to prevent loss.
  • The management of customers voluntarily leaving actively minimizes any collateral risks and looks to increase the chances of future return or winback.

 

For more insight into customer-centric business model innovation as well as more insight into this particular area of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint, please see my book “The Customer-Centric Blueprint’ – http://amzn.to/ZILg4y

Customer-Centric Transformation: What Good Looks Like – Retention – Understanding Retention – Part 11a of 14


Designing and executing a customer-centric business model requires end to end organisational alignment. Customer-centric capability development cannot take place in isolation to the rest of the business. The customer-centric journey requires a clear quantified understanding of current organisational capability across all 14 capability areas of the SCHEMA® Customer Management framework in the centre of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint below. As important as an understanding of current customer management capability is, so too is an understanding of the capability to which the organisation aspires.

Each week I’ll address another single capability area, sharing with you the Transformation Intent to which your organisation should commit to, as well as ‘What Good Looks Like’ for those organisations that have achieved a fairly high level of maturity in the respective capability area.

The REAP Customer-Centric Organisation Blueprint®

REAP CCOB for Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we are dealing with Retention which is one of the four Execution capability areas represented. The Execution layer relates to the capabilities and control levers needed to optimise customer value and include Retention, Efficiency (understanding cost to serve), Acquisition and Penetration (customer development, cross-sell and up-sell) – collectively referred to as REAP. These are capabilities and initiatives that can be optimised in the short term.

These capabilities support your ability to implement your chosen customer strategies and rely on the fundamental building blocks (Foundations) as well as the Enabling capabilities already discussed in Part 1 to 10 of this series of blog posts.

Each of the four Execution capability areas is made up of sub-components. In developing Retention capabilities it is important to understand the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it, important to consider how to retain through business as usual, important to consider pro-active retention activity and how to best manage dissatisfaction. Each of these areas is addressed in separate, individual blog posts.

Transformation Intent – Retention

“Retention is all about understanding your customer base and the drivers that create and maintain loyalty as well as the factors that destroy it. Coupled with this is the need to consistently deliver on your promise while ensuring that over-delivery is balanced against the overriding goal of doing just enough to ensure repurchase. A retention strategy also demands that you are pro-active with your customers, monitoring them for signs of defection and implementing constructive plans to generate customer commitment to repurchase. Should customers become dissatisfied, the right flows of communication alert you so that the issues can be addressed promptly and consistently, whilst solving the problem at a root cause level.”

What Good Looks Like – Understanding Retention

  • The nature of customers who stay for longer than average is understood along with the balance of what drives this loyalty between brand affinity and more tangible market / physical factors. The correlation between stated satisfaction and demonstrated transaction loyalty is also fully understood.
  • Customer (as opposed to product) loss is defined and always detected as soon as it is possible to do so. The reasons why customers leave and the stages of their relationship at which they are most likely to leave are understood.
  • Clear definitions and monitoring are also in place around value decay / dormancy, why these customers have not left completely and why some of them re-activate at a later stage.

 

For more insight into customer-centric business model innovation as well as more insight into this particular area of the REAP Customer-Centric Blueprint, please see my book “The Customer-Centric Blueprint’ – http://amzn.to/ZILg4y