It is amusing how many companies tell me they are really customer centric. Strangely, when we do some analysis, which always shows that this is not the case, they are then quick to see their claim was incorrect.
All the fast growth companies we track have several things in common. One thing they are all really good at is putting their customers at the centre of the business.
Ask yourselves these questions:
- What percentage of the measures your leadership team tracks regularly, are internal (e.g. your results- revenue, profit etc.) and what percentage are tracking things that are important to your customer (e.g. The amount of times you help them achieve their aim).
- What proportion of time does your executive team spend with customers?
- Do you know what wakes your customers up at night, what they worry about? Or what they dream about?
- Does the value you provide to customers provide so much benefit in their eyes, that your company is significantly better than the completion? (I don’t mean what you claim in your marketing- what your customers actually think).
- Have you designed the experience your customers receive so that every single point of contact is carefully planned to ensure it is easy and that they feel good?
So, now tell me, honestly- is your company customer centric?
Customer centricity drives fast growth
Fast growth companies work hard on each of these areas to ensure that they excel. They know that being customer centric is THE most effective way to business success. Jack Welch, CEO of GE spent time with customers every week and expected the same from his peers. Until he retired GE enjoyed incredible growth and left their competitors standing.
Intuit’s founder was always so convinced that customer loyalty was by far the best way to drive profitable growth that, when they discovered that using India to support their customers, while apparently saving them money, was disappointing their customers, they brought the entire support operation back to the USA overnight. They have grown at incredible speed.
Slingshot SEO chose to become so good at making each and every customer successful that they grew by 3,597% in 3 years flat, with minimal marketing budget.
Define customer centric for your business
So, looking at the answers you gave to the questions above, are you serious about being customer centric? If so, you should know that it about developing a customer culture. Where when you walk the corridors people are telling customer stories and proudly sharing how they helped them to achieve what they wanted.
- Spend time with your customers until you have such good empathy with them that you know what they want you to help them achieve. For example Apple determined to give their customers access to what they wanted in a non-computer way, where they could luxuriate in the experience and have fun.
- Slingshot SEO tracks the number of leads their customers win- and target market awareness.
- What proportion of time does your executive team need to spend with customers to get really close to them?
- Once you have the answers to a. and b. above work out how you can provide so much benefit in the eyes of your customers, that your company beams out like a lighthouse amongst the fog. (See our lighthouse article.)
- See our 2 part article on designing a great customer experience.
Compare where you stand today. The gap is clear.
Where will you start? If you have any questions let me know below.