Today virtually every company claims to be customer-centric,
but scarcely any really are.
Despite their boasts, they haven’t truly put customers
at the center of all they do. They typically have no idea
how much money they make or lose with each of their customers.
They can’t clearly articulate the value proposition
they offer their customers, nor can they describe competitors’ value
propositions. So they can’t even begin to explain
why their value proposition is better – if, by some
chance, it actually is.
They can’t explain in a crisp, clear way why they
offer the value propositions they do – that is, they
can’t describe in detail the different needs of their
While these self-proclaimed customer-centric firms insist
they love their customers, no one is actually in charge
of the complete customer experience. Instead, lots of people
have a piece of it. But as everyone who has worked in an
organization knows, when many people are responsible for
something, no one is. And if no one is clearly accountable
for the complete customer experience, it’s guaranteed
not to be very good.
Perhaps most dangerously in today’s environment,
these firms haven’t the faintest notion how much
each of their customers or customer segments contributes
to – or subtracts from – the value of their
stock. So no matter how earnestly they try to make customers
happy, these companies are flying blind when it comes to
their ultimate bottom line, the shareholder value they’re
under tremendous pressure to deliver.
Truly Customer-Centric companies are just the opposite.
Because they’re truly Customer-Centric, they conceive
of their companies not as collections of products, services,
territories, or functions, but rather as a portfolio
As a result, they enjoy enormous competitive advantages.
They know which customers are valuable and which aren’t,
so they allocate resources far more effectively.
They know how to make all their customers more valuable.
They understand in detail the needs of all their customers,
so they wow customers while competitors bore them.
They make sure their customer value propositions stay superior – and
profitable – because specific managers are accountable
for making them so.
They manage their portfolio of customers for shareholder
value – which they deliver far more impressively
than competitors can.
With every day of Customer-Centricity, they gain knowledge
and advantages that competitors will find it harder and
harder to match.
Real companies in a range of industries are doing all
these things today.
Someday soon, one of your competitors will see the overwhelming
advantages of true Customer-Centricity.
Can you afford to let them get started first?