Shep Hyken

By Shep Hyken

Why Customer Centricity Needs to be Woven Into the Fabric of Your Organization

150 150 Shep Hyken

It seems like everybody is using the term “customer-centric company.” But what does the phrase really mean?
Let’s start off our discussion by turning to the authority when doing online research – Google. When you Google the term customer centric (or centricity), you will find many definitions from many different sources, yet they all are remarkably similar. I like to use the term customer-focused instead of customer-centric. Most people would agree that a general definition of a customer-centric or customer-focused organization is one in which everything that is done is centered around the customer. In other words, before any decision is made, it is the customer who is foremost in each decision maker’s mind. The customer comes first in every new system being developed, every new line of merchandise being designed, every new location that is being discussed, every website change that is being considered – in one word, everything – will first merit a discussion about how it will impact the customer. In addition, all employees understand their role in creating the customer’s experience, even those employees who may never have direct contact with a customer.

Consider the following two examples.

After receiving multiple requests from its customers, a manufacturer decides to add a new splash of color to an existing line of merchandise. Why? It won’t cost much to set up for the new color and it’s a reasonable request. Thus, the customers are pleased because they now have an extra choice. The company’s decision was made easy because they knew their customers were asking for it. The company listened to their customers and then acted. The company knew that the decision to add another color to the line would make a positive customer impact. This one was easy.

But, what about a tough decision that a company knows will not be received well by the customer, such as a price increase? How do you make a decision like this while remaining customer focused?

Raising the price may not make the customer happy, but what might happen if the company doesn’t take this action? If the price doesn’t go up, something else may have to go down. Not raising the price might result in a drop in quality or service. The company may simply need to raise prices, even knowing the customer will not be happy. Or maybe the decision is about something behind the scenes that may be invisible to the customer, but may still may have a negative impact on the customer. An example might be a discussion to switch to an inferior supplier. If the correct decision is not made, it may affect the customer in an even greater way than a price increase.

Customer centricity shouldn’t be a concept that is just given lip service. It needs to be woven into the very fiber of the organization’s culture. The employees need to become the threads of the fabric, which is the culture that permeates throughout the organization. The best companies are like this. So, if you haven’t acted already, make the decision for your organization to be customer-focused. As a result, you will positively impact your customers, your employees and your bottom line.

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