Last week during a webinar discussion with Michael Maoz of Gartner, Leo Annab from CA Technologies and our CEO, Louis Tetu, I asked where each would recommend that a leader get started on the road to customer centricity. Not surprisingly, the answers were a fitting end to a wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating discussion about:
• The nature of knowledge and Insight, applied to customer centricity
• How CA Technologies has evolved its approach to managing and accessing information to place customers at the center of operations
• How Gartner sees the relationship between customer service, marketing and product development, which again is centered in knowledge and information
Michael recommended that a great place to start with customer centricity is “from the outside in,” with an online forum for customers, where they would show “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Here, according to Michael, companies can learn where they do well, where they need to improve and what is most important to their customers, enabling them to prioritize programs for their customers.
Indeed, early in the discussion, Louis noted that being customer-centric is about being centered around listening, responding to and solving customer issues rather than pushing and telling customers about the company’s products and services—aka, a product centric-approach. It is a distinct shift in the way organizations do business—and even use things like social channels. For example, for brands, Twitter should no longer be about telling your followers about the latest product news or company awards; it should be about asking followers for what they want to see from your products and solutions and how you can make them more efficient, effective, etc.
Leo recommended that leaders “embrace chaos and work your policies around information for crowd-sourcing,” noting that many corporate policies can obstruct the free flow of information. Louis echoed Leo’s comments and added that “this is the new reality,” that companies can no longer afford to view every customer as the same. “Every situation has a different context,” he said. Leaders should “embrace chaos, and enable Insight.”
What do you think—is your organization capable of “embracing chaos” to become customer-centric? How do you go about about moving from a product-centric environment to a customer-centric one?