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Customer Centricity is a core value for many companies. It’s not a complex concept to grasp. No customers, no business.

Yet inevitably, when the responsibility and metrics for customer centricity are held mostly by  marketing, customer service or the  ‘front office’ somehow the ‘centricity’ part doesn’t quite compute.

A customer satisfaction index (CSI) will give you some good information on how your customer perceives your company but the lag time alone for CSI makes it hard to respond to complaints in real time. A few years ago when we started to work with clients to help them re-focus on their customers it was clear that they had created so much complexity with their product/service offerings it was impossible to deliver on what people really wanted.

The fact is a product department or R&D department is designed to create product so that’s what they will spend their time doing. And if they aren’t developing something from scratch, they are ‘enhancing’ what has gone before.

Typically there is an ongoing battle between the people who want to ‘push’ products onto their clients/customers and those who want to deliver what their clients actually want. Those of us who are constantly upgrading software and operating systems are all too familiar with the result. Just as we are getting used to the functionality and icons of our latest smart phone, or gadget, lo and behold there’s yet another upgrade we have to educate ourselves around.

Today we are constantly reminded of how the average business person is stressed by and overloaded with data. Yet, the very companies who are seeking to simplify the overwhelm are often the perpetrators of it. In the ceaseless endeavour to generate corporate ‘growth’, there appears to be a general consensus that ‘more’ choice is what will satisfy everyone.

The fact is, you are never going to satisfy everyone. There is no point offering extra bells and whistles to customers when you aren’t managing their minimum requirements. What is needed is a radical focus on those customers with whom you can have a mutually beneficial exchange. When companies spend less time inventing more ‘stuff’ and more time listening to their customers they can invest more in delivering the basic levels of service people actually want.

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