In March 2000, Harvey Thompson of IBM published a book, “The Customer-Centered Enterprise: How IBM and Other World-Class Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results by Putting Customers First.” (McGraw-Hill).
In his book, he suggests that a company like Amazon.com is one of the best examples of a customer-centered company. At the other end of the scale, he puts Microsoft as an example of a product-driven company. I am sure we can all relate to what Thompson is saying. The book has some excellent advice on how being customer-centric can produce much better business results than the product-driven approach.
In some ways, Thompson did not go far enough. The real key is to try to relate to how the customer sees your company. How will your typical customer feel when he or she contacts your company? We should try to stand in the shoes of our customers. Doing that, how does your company rate?
The following 7 habits distinguish the truly customer-centric company from a company that merely thinks a lot about its customers.
Why not score your own company and see how you rate?
0 = Does not mention customers
1= Mostly about the company
2= 50/50 company / customer
3= Mostly about what we will provide to our customers
4= A clear commitment to our customers of what we will provide them
- WE HAVE A PROMISE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS, NOT JUST A MISSION FOR OURSELVES
- WE BUNDLE SERVICES IN WITH OUR PRODUCTS
- OUR WEBSITE IS A WELCOMING DOOR, NOT A MAGNIFICENT EDIFICE
- THE CUSTOMER FINDS IT EASY TO CONTACT US, BY WHATEVER METHOD IS CONVENIENT
- OUR TELEPHONE SYSTEM IS “CUSTOMER-FRIENDLY” AND NOT JUST COST-EFFECTIVE
- OUR CUSTOMER HAS ONE MAIN CONTACT WHO MAKES EVERYTHING HAPPEN
- OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE GIVES THE SERVICE THE CUSTOMER REALLY WANTS
Now add up your scores for the 7 habits and see how you rate.
0 – 14 You probably turn off a large proportion of potential customers
15 – 20 You probably irritate some of your potential customers
21 – 25 You’re doing pretty well but the competition may do better
26 – 28 Now you’re a company I would like to deal with!
So how did you do? Perhaps you feel the rating is too critical. However with the Internet, the customer is now in the driving seat. Some companies are giving incredible service and they are setting the standard for what customers expect. This is not rocket science. All it takes is a little more thinking and a little more attention to detail. So why not join the winners?
Look at each of the questions where you scored less than 4 and see whether you should be doing more to make your customer feel valued.
If you would like help in becoming more customer-centric, contact us today.
Call 800-847-5863 NOW!
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