PT. Gemilang Ananta
How to make your company think like a customer

Customer today expect an imaginative, high-quality experience in a multichannel environment. Regard this as an opportunity: Your company can leverage new strategies and technologies to create operations capable of making good on your customer-centric promise and growing your business.


For too many companies, ensuring that every customer has a tailored experience remains an elusive goal. Indeed, in a 2010 survey of more than 140 North American companies, just 3 percent were identified as truly “customer-centric organizations.” Fully a third were found to be “customer oblivious.”
The stakes are high. Some studies suggest that failing to deliver a high-quality customer experience can result in a staggering erosion of a company’s customer base—a loss of as much as 50 percent over a five-year period.

Why do some companies succeed while so many fail? Often, the cause is internal barriers. Even the best-intentioned attempts at customer-centricity can be sabotaged by siloed strategies, organizations, processes, technologies and data, which can result in disconnected sales, marketing and service functions. Your customer views all of your functions and business units as a single company. Shouldn’t you?

Merely adding customer-centricity to your vision statement isn’t enough. Thinking like your customer is the first challenge, and delivering a positive customer experience is even harder. Achieving customer-centricity requires rethinking the way business is done. And this, in turn, requires a holistic approach that encompasses everything from analytics and insights to strategy and customer experience, from operating model design and execution to governance and transformation management.


Identifying the obstacles

The rethinking begins by breaking down the challenge into its constituent parts.


Your competition is expanding. In the past, competitive intelligence from outside your industry wasn’t required. But today’s consumers compare their experience with your company not just to their interactions with your immediate competitors but to their experiences with companies in general. The pampered luxury car customer expects the same attention from the cable provider and at the retail store at the mall. Are you prepared to meet that expectation?

Your customers are evolving. The traditional shopper has been joined by the digitally oriented, multichannel customer; as a result, operating models must accommodate both. The traditional customer may still be reluctant to share personal information, but the growing base of digital customers tends to be more open with data, especially if it is used to provide them with a better product or service experience.

Nike did exactly that with its Nike + iPod Sport Kit, partnering with Apple to change the running shoe forever. Anticipating that runners would be eager to adopt technology and online channels to augment their training, the company developed a sensor for the left shoe that sends workout data wirelessly to an iPod. The sensor tracks distance, time, pace and calories burned—and even tells runners if they’ve beaten their personal best. Back at home, Nike’s online portal enables the runner to plot goals and compete with others. Can you identify similar ways to reinvent yourself as markets evolve?

The voice of dissatisfaction echoes louder than ever before. Social media sites and online research are accelerating word of mouth. According to conventional wisdom, a dissatisfied customer might tell 10 people of a negative experience; today, social media enables that same customer to reach thousands with a few keystrokes. Do you have a strategy to address negative feedback hitting the Web?

You must kill the back-office mentality. The days of a cloistered back office are over. What once seemed like smart organization—discrete processes, databases and designated teams designed for efficiency—creates siloed operating models that prevent companies from coordinating interactions and customer experiences. Is there a backroom firewall at your company that’s become a liability?

You need effective connectivity, not just flashy capabilities. Few companies understand what actually happens as a customer moves from one interaction to another. To offer the best customer experience, it is necessary to connect customer-facing and non-customer-facing functions. For example, an increasing number of companies are connecting internal data and analytical capabilities such as “next-best-action” decision making to enable contact centers and sales forces to dynamically drive interactions based on real-time customer insight. Look closely at your own company: Are handoffs seamless and informed? Are the right people armed with the right information, at the right time, to anticipate and address customer needs?
Having familiarized yourself with the obstacles in the dramatically altered customer environment, you can begin to build a framework for a customer-centric operating model. There are five areas of focus surrounding the customer.