As soon as implementing customer centricity appears on your agenda, you begin asking yourself a lot of questions. The main one is – where to start? Every single thing looks like an opportunity lying right there, waiting to be explored. Things become overwhelming, or even worse, intimidating.
The fact is: it doesn’t have to be! The main principle of successful customer centricity, Data-Insight-Action, or D-I-A for short, can be as easy as 1-2-3.
Where to start? Collecting first DATA!
The simple answer is, anywhere. There are no wrong places. Talk to your loyal customers, they might give you some very unexpected answers. After all, who knows better what the customer wants than the customers themselves.
Talk to your employees in the field. They are the ones who know more about the grass root issues.
Beware of being too internally focused. It’s tempting to only talk to your colleagues. And while you can brainstorm some interesting ideas with them, don’t limit your intel to the one coming from the inside.
You might have heard about elaborate survey programs, called “voice-of-the-customer” programs. They will follow your maturity in collecting data as you go, so don’t feel that you need the all-encompassing survey solution to start your journey to customer centricity.
Then, analyze what you have to create INSIGHT!
Your data is only as good as the insight it can provide you with. So, after a month of collecting data from all sources, it’s time to sit down and analyze it. On your own, with colleagues, or you can go big and use data-analyzing tools and specialists. Whatever you choose, just make sure your data is not sitting idle on your table.
And finally, just do it and create some ACTION!
Now comes the part a lot of organizations stumble upon: taking action on your data.
Beat that intimidating feeling by starting small and moving up. You don’t have to directly plunge into multi-year improvement projects, but once you make your first step – keep going, customer centricity is a journey, not a destination.
The biggest mistake you can make though is stopping your customer centricity initiatives in light of unforeseen events. From pandemics to acquisitions, natural disasters to wars, strikes to cost cutting waves across the organization – disruption to your business seems to be the new normal.
At times like this it is easy to get distracted by what seems to be a more pressing issue.
The pitfall here is that once you stop your customer centricity initiative, you’re never coming back to it. Sure, you might need to slow down until the issue at hand is resolved but stopping altogether will require much more effort to set the activity back in motion.
Look at your initiative towards more customer centricity as a long cargo train: once it moves, it is pretty efficient to move forward. But once it stops, it takes herculean effort to start it again!
Start over – keep the train moving!
So, after your first cycle of data-insight-action start over. And there is your sustainable customer centricity initiative that will keep improving your organization across all departments, services, processes, and regions.
Whenever you encounter internal push-back, e.g. a unit leader or head of department telling you they have no time for your focus on customers effort, emotions or effectiveness (the 3 E) as they have too many issues with internal problems around products, processes, or people (the 3 P), check-out my recommendations on how to deal with this in my article The Inside-Out Outside-In Model).
Once you’ve achieved your first goal, remember to talk about it. Online and in person. Success is contagious, and sharing it only helps you go further.