The simple answer is to make sure you know what they are praying for!
We call this customer insight. In other words, what are your customer’s needs? What are they trying to accomplish and how can you help them achieve it?
While you as the leader of your organization might have these answers, can everyone in your organization answer these questions? Really great organizations have clear answers to these questions and are aligned and empowered to deliver the experience customers value. Their leaders are what we call customer-centric leaders.
Is the Pope a customer-centric leader?
My co-author, Linden was surprised recently when he spoke with a CEO of a multinational business this month and asked him who came to mind as a customer-centric leader. He immediately answered: “the Pope”! Linden said: “Tell me more”.
He then went on to tell explain that a customer-centric leader must be prepared to take risks and he or she must go out and meet with customers and spend meaningful time with them questioning and listening. This type of leader must be prepared to be challenged and also to challenge the current status quo and visit customers in the most difficult markets. This person needs to be authentic with customers and employees through an ability to communicate personal experiences that are relevant and create belief in their followers. He said the current Pope does all these things. He travels widely across different national cultures, talks with his “customers”, takes risks particularly with personal safety and is prepared to question current dogma in the Catholic Church. He comes across as an authentic person with those he meets and how he communicates to the world at large. It got me thinking. Can we learn something from the Pope about customer-centric leadership?
This type of leader must be prepared to be challenged and also to challenge the current status quo and visit customers in the most difficult markets. This person needs to be authentic with customers and employees through an ability to communicate personal experiences that are relevant and create belief in their followers.
He said the current Pope does all these things. He travels widely across different national cultures, talks with his “customers”, takes risks particularly with personal safety and is prepared to question current dogma in the Catholic Church. He comes across as an authentic person with those he meets and how he communicates to the world at large.
It got us thinking. Can we learn something from the Pope about customer-centric leadership?
Posted in Authenticity, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Centric Values, Customer Insight, Empathy, Honesty, transparency, Trust, Uncategorized
Tagged Customer Centric Leadership, customer culture, Customer Insight, pope
For those of you familiar with our work you will know that we successfully validated the link between a customer centric culture and new product success. Our chart below shows the links between our 8 dimensions of a customer centric culture and the key business performance outcomes.
Essentially organizations that develop a cultural focus that is obsessed with customers, outperform everyone else in the markets in which they play.
I just came across a great example of how this can work in reverse for a company that has not developed a customer culture – Comcast Cable.
Comcast recently announced a major new product – they are now a cell phone provider in the US market:
Here is the reaction I found in some comments people who saw this announcement on LinkedIn (the majority of the comments were along the same line….):
This is of course only anecdotal evidence, however, it is going to make it tough to make this product launch a success with an undercurrent of negative feelings towards the experiences many customers have had with the brand in the past….
How you treat your current customers today will have a massive impact on how they will respond to new product introductions in the future.
Build your company’s customer culture today to ensure you continue to be successful in the future. Learn more in the Customer Culture Imperative, our award winning book.
Posted in Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Centric Values, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, Market Culture Inaction, Trust, Uncategorized, Voice of the Customer
Tagged Comcast, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Insight, new product success
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus 500BC
It’s hard to believe this quote is from more than 2000 years ago… I can’t think of a more relevant quote to describe the times we are living in right now!
From a business context the change we are experiencing is the rapid shifts occurring in customer expectations and behavior. The companies that are embracing this are the ones that are winning and will continue to win in the future.
The question is how do we adapt to this changing customer environment, stay ahead and stay relevant?
Many forward thinking organizations are using increasingly sophisticated customer experience metrics to stay in touch with what their existing customers are experiencing. Specifically they have embedded these processes in a manner that makes it part of their organizational culture – we call this a “Customer Culture”. A great example comes from the work being done at Macquarie Telecom, a leading Telecommunications firm in Australia.
Macquarie’s CEO, David Tudehope, has taken a personal interest in leveraging the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology to help drive a customer centric culture. NPS is essentially a simple way to measure customer advocacy. It is based on answering the question – “How likely are you to recommend us?” on a 0-10 point scale. While a great methodology, it is not the right one for every business. What’s more important than the metric is the fact there is a focal point at which all employees can focus on and work together to improve.
For Macquarie, leveraging this methodology has been transformational. It has raised the visibility of the importance of customer experience on customer retention and ultimately business performance. It has also served as a goal that aligns everyone and drives collaboration across the firm.
What have Macquarie learned from their transformational journey that you can apply in your organization?
- Engage everyone in the journey – measure every significant touch-point as everyone has an impact on how customer’s experience the company
- Be Transparent – display results for everyone to see so teams can see how others are performing and compare results
- Celebrate individuals and teams – share great customer stories and celebrate teams with high NPS scores
- Integrate into hiring processes – hire people with a desire to create great experiences for others
- Customer Success gives employees meaning and purpose – connecting people’s roles with the impact they have on customers provides meaning, inspiration and purpose and will derive up engagement levels and ultimately people’s performance
What are the results?
Macquarie’s NPS is 60+ which means they have many more promoters than detractors (see this post to compare Macquarie’s NPS with the most customer centric companies in the world). While they are not the best in the world (they can still improve), they significantly outperform their competitors in the space they play in.
To read more about how to begin the journey to a customer centric culture, get a copy of our book, the Customer Culture Imperative or learn about the Market Responsiveness Index.
Posted in Case Study, CEOs, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, Voice of the Customer
Tagged Customer Centric Culture, Customer Experience, Customer Insight, david tudehope, macquarie telecom, net promoter score, nps
Nestle’s customer insight creates a new market in Japan
Traditionally Nescafe was bought in grocery stores and consumed at home. As Nestle Japan searched for new ways to expand its coffee business it found that the economic downturn led to Japanese companies ceasing to supply coffee on the job for their employees. There are about 6 million offices in Japan, most having less than 20 workers and few coffee suppliers were selling directly to offices.
Nestle Japan developed the concept of the Nescafe Ambassador – an office employee with a passion for coffee, interested in collaborating directly with Nestle on behalf of their workplace and acting as an “in-office barista”. The company supplied an in-office Nescafe Barista soluble coffee machine and the Ambassadors ordered the coffee from Nestle, collected money from their co-workers for coffee consumed and forwarded payment.
This innovation came from the insight that Japanese employees liked to have the convenience of having coffee in the workplace. But more than that it was an opportunity to talk with their colleagues, collaborate and catch up with what is going on – it rebuilt their social interaction and a sense of community at work which had been lost in many office environments. Nestle was able to capitalize on this unique understanding of what was happening in the Japanese office environments
Nestle is also looking for new ways to meet the needs of Ambassadors to enhance the atmosphere at their workplaces and facilitate communication between their colleagues.
This new business model based on a customer-centric approach to business has been very successful for Nestle japan. The program was rolled out in November 2012 and by early 2015 there were 170,000 Nescafe Ambassadors. Their goal is to establish 500,000 Nescafe Ambassador cafes at the workplace as well as 6,000Nescafe Satellite cafes and Café-in-shops over the next five years.
Source: Kotler Impact, “Mind your Marketing”, Volume 1, October 2015, Business Model Innovation: The Nescafe Ambassador Program, pages 120-121
There are 5 crucial questions every leader must answer about their customer base:
1. Which customers are your most valuable and why?
2. Which customers are costing you more time energy and stress than they are worth?
3. Who are your advocates? Customers that are driving new business by referring you to others?
4. Who are your ideal prospects?
5. Which prospects are most likely to become customers and why?
Why are the answers to these questions important? Understanding who your best existing and potential customers are is essential to growth and to the allocation of resources.
By spending more time with your best customers and less time with those that drain your resources you can free up the time necessary to attract new customers.
The answers to these questions should drive your marketing strategy, implementation tactics and ultimately improved return on investment (ROI) from all of these activities.
Do you know the answers?
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Linda Popky of L2M Associates, a Marketing Strategy Consulting firm.
It allowed me to reflect a little on what it takes to build a market-driven firm and why it remains a critical issue for any business. The reality is the only firms that will thrive now and in the future are those with a close eye on the marketplace.
A great example is Walmart that uses “business intelligence” technology to crunch its masses of data and turn it into actionable insight. The latest Economist magazine, describes the following case: “Wal-Mart peered into its mammoth databases and noticed that before a hurricane struck, there was a run on flashlights and batteries, as might be expected; but also on Pop-Tarts, a sugary American breakfast snack. On reflection it is clear that the snack would be a handy thing to eat in a blackout, but the retailer would not have thought to stock up on it before a storm.”
This is a great example of gaining customer insight from information which allows a company to take profitable action.
To listen to my interview on why customer insight and other market driven behaviors are so critical to business profitability click here