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By Mr. Ali Malik posted 04-25-2020 03:20 PM


Customer Centric Cultures

A Sophisticated & Purpose driven approach for Every Business in this Competitive Age!

The age of disruption and innovation has pushed a lot of organizations to wake up and start thinking out of the box. The companies are getting keener and curious on meeting customer expectations, winning them over strict competitions, providing convenient digital platforms and so on. The elements of the disrupted management practices are realizing the need and importance that there is no better time than today to start understanding and learning more about customer behaviors, preferences as well as their thinking patterns which drives their buying journey’s. To achieve the customer expectations, it’s very important that an organization must create the purpose and then get together to meet that objective. Those who started thinking, working and designing business products and processes around this philosophy are the only one fearless organizations who will win the competitive edge in times to come.

“Organizations exist to serve a Purpose – the better they understand that Purpose, the Better they are to create Greater Customer Experiences and Build Revenues”

Globally and domestically, we are watching that almost every segment whether its manufacturing, trading, brands, retail, banking etc. all of them are facing vicious challenges like cost management, staff productivity, marketing and achieving the desirable growth. The organizations have to understand that the paradigm is now more shifting to the excellence of service delivery and creating memorable customer experiences, rather than then the focus on product attributes, alone.

Let’s take an easy example. Some years ago in my country (Pakistan), the challenge for most of the passengers in urban cities were to access a rickshaw (a traditional 3 wheeler taxi) at fair price and find them accessible by reaching main markets or bus stations near to their residences. The flow of expectations are totally turned around now. Today the same customers have more control to select their desired cars, comfort, safety as well as lower costs, all with a service delivery model to pick them up right from the place, where they want to move. It’s possible now, due to these app based Taxi sharing business’s in Pakistan. An entire shift to customer centricity business approach. Isn’t? It made us more powerful as a customer and gave us more control over our buying decisions! 

“Putting yourself in your Customer’s Shoes and understanding all of their Feelings at every point of Buying Journey is the best possible way to understand and satisfy them”

So which business win these days? Those who understand, adopt and deliver according to the customer needs are the disrupting industries who are taking over business share through their core customer centric culture business models!

What is a Culture: A Culture is collection of habits, practices, beliefs that regulates a community life styles. An organization culture is more specific about the above mentioned factors applies to an organization and how it drives with its employees. 

A Customer Centric Culture is:
“Putting the Customers at the Center of Everything you do”

How many of our organization’s follow this philosophy and embed it to their business DNA? I have personally seen a lot of organizations in Pakistan, Middle East and elsewhere where there CEO’s or passionately hired new strategist & business head’s creating complex strategies but quite often these strategies did not delivered the desired results. Why? The culture, the motivations, the non-belief or non-boarding of employees are the real challenges that led them to failure rates. As Peter Drucker’s one of the most famous quotes: Culture eats the Strategy at Breakfast!

 So I emphasis on re-engineering Culture before crafting strategy or anything. A competitive businesses should focus on two types of Customers:

Internal Customers: Your Employees, your Partners of Purpose.

External Customers: The People who are in buying relation with your business and generating revenues to your business. Your Customers!

I know your question will be, how? So let me share with you how to start with…

1-     Create a Purpose and get Everyone On Board: Every employee in our organization has to be a stake holder in serving Customers. We normally arrange the customer importance meetings/service training programs for the front liners and we always skip to educate the non-front liners. This is where we mistake. Every employee in every department whether production, design, marketing, finance, sales etc. should have a clear understanding on why they are together and how they can serve their customers, at best. A clear understanding can create a stronger purpose!

2-     Assess your Culture and Redesign your Focus: It’s very important to understand where your organization is standing now to take it where you want it to be. As Peter Drucker said “if you can’t measure it, you cannot manage it”. We at Static-A assessed the customer centric focus at various organizations in Pakistan and Middle East and redesigned their service design and process’s around the theme of customer centricity. Though our assessment are more scientific and accurate and predict better action plan, however you can assess your organizational culture by finding how much your actions and process’s and intentions are focused to serve your customers and how you can redesign and re-engineer it.

3-     Design your Process from Outside in: In this age of disruptions, all these rigid manuals and policy handbooks are getting obsoleted slowly. Being a customer advocate, I suggest you to focus on your customer persona’s and then design your all process, departments, workflow, reporting system from outside in, with a purpose to serve and satisfy your customers at your best.

4-     Put Customer’s in Every Meeting: One of my most favorite company, globally, is Amazon. I am a huge admirer of Mr. Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) as this leader has ran his organization on one-point agenda of Customer First. See where he is standing now, the second richest person (at the moment I am writing this article) and a company which has won millions and millions of customer hearts globally by its superior service delivery model. What he does? In every meeting, he puts a staff with chair and mark it as “Customer Chair”. Whatever solution they discuss, they look from that customer prospective and evaluate how that particular action, step or policy will directly help this customer? If yes they give it a go! Did you tried something like that? It’s the obsession which led him to be the Master CEO of a greater Customer Centric Organization. Adopt that passion!

5-     Hire and Train People for Customer Centricity: The whole approach of Customer Centricity and greater Customer Experiences are starting from the Employee Experiences. It’s very important to hire the employees, having customer value as top of their personal agendas. On-board them on your mission and goals and train them on your desired values and the vision you want to achieve altogether!

6-     Create Greater Customer Experiences: According to the Gartner, a leading Global Research, by 2020, the biggest differentiator in business world will be the Customer Experience factor. Companies produce same alike products and sell them at almost same prices, the only differentiation will be how well you serve them, how you are creating memorable Customer Experiences and how you are winning customer loyalties. Remember Customer retention is the biggest challenge come across to business’s these days. 

Remember: The companies who are not built with the core mission to satisfy the customers and create memorable experience for them, are not going to survive for longer, no matter how big they are!

There are many examples I can personally tell you globally and even in Pakistan, they were the giant brand once and now they are standing nowhere. The loyalty of one generation disappeared at Next. Of course you will never like to be in that list of unsung heroes. So it’s the right time to be a real Legend of your Industry segment!

Your strategy should be formulated and well aligned with the customer wants and according to their preferences. Shifting the focus to achieve those wants and needs in shape of creating memorable and happy experiences, is the key of successful business model.

I suggest you that by reading this article, you should think about these Ten questions and answer them at your honesty, to get a quick review of your progress in your customer’s arena:

1-     What is your company’s mission and purpose at large?

2-     Can your every employee describe the same mission and purpose statement, if asked?

3-     Have you defined and communicated internally and externally, your unique value proposition?

4-     Does your customer know your unique value proposition & brand promise?

5-     Have you set any benchmark for your Customer Experience deliverable?

6-     Do you assess your customer centric culture values?

7-     Do you regularly measure your Customer Experiences at all sales, service and communication channels?

8-     Do you research on your customer personas and psycho graphic segmentation's?

9-     Are you regularly connected with your Customers, listening and working on their Feedback's?

10- Do you quickly adopt the desired process and cultural element and are unique in your way of doing business?

If you do not have a “yes” answer to all of these questions, then you seriously need to sit and redesign your customer centric values, goals, service design, process and customer experiences.

I always say there are two types of CEO’s and business head’s in the market. One who are fearful and feel reluctant to testify themselves and adopt change. They are easily left behind at a fierce competition and then they blame the market trends, government and a lot of external factors. The other category of CEO’s are fearless one’s, the one who get inspired with disruptive approaches and practices and they love to adopt the change, they learn and quickly react with their superior and differentiated cultures and values, they never blame and win the chessboard. Decide which one of them, you would like to be?