In a given firm it is safe to say there are multiple change management initiatives running at the same time which vie for the time and attention of key executives some examples of corporate initiatives
- Sales transformation
- Value articulation
- Employee engagement
- IT Transformation
- Process improvement
- Leadership Development
- Key Account Management
- Tools & Reuse
- so on….
On top of these initiatives a typical executive has a day job juggling delivery, customer servicing and business travel to boot.
No wonder 70% of all change management initiatives fail as per a recent study
As more and more firms identify Customer Centricity / Experience Improvement Programs as part of CXO Agenda, it is natural for customer facing managers to groan not one more initiative please!
Some ideas to make Customer Centricity Programs work on the ground.
- Recognize Customer Centricity is primarily a behavioral change:Unless there is a distinct change in the firm’s DNA toward customer centricity, the program is actually set up for failure so need to get the buy in from the customer facing employees (sales & delivery)
- Customer Centricity is an umbrella initiative: once you have an articulated customer centricity vision in place then other tracks fall into place
- Service Excellence
- Customer Experience Measurement
- Product Quality
- Customer Advocacy Programs
- Customer Experience Improvement
- Account Based Marketing
- Send the signals from the very top – Get a high power team: It is essential to send a strong message, Customer Centricity Initiatives should be run from CEO’s office along with active participation from business, sales and delivery leadership; Business Excellence / Quality teams to drive the rigour while marketing teams take care of the messaging / communication
- Don’t bite off than what you can chew: Customer Centricity Initiatives need to focus primarily on “Key Customers” i.e. Top Customers, Desirable Customers & Customers with future potential. Keep the focus on the chosen few say Top 20-25 customers to begin with
- Simplify your metrics: To keep laser focus on the success metrics, keep the key metrics to 3-4 focus areas only. With finite resources and attention span of business teams, it helps to keep focus on fewer but high impact metrics while ensuring there is clear accountability
- Don’t take the leg off the accelerator – CEO should personally review the initiative on a monthly or quarterly basis: The lack of senior management attention is pretty much the kiss of death for any change management initiatives
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, a quote originated by Peter Drucker & made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford pretty much summarizes the intent of this post.
Firms are in the business of acquiring and retaining valued customers, hence a focused customer centricity program should not viewed as “another” initiative but rather the bed-rock for all initiatives