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You say you are customer centric – are you really?

The phrase “customer centricity” is a bit like “innovative”. Organisations say they are but there doesn’t seem to be any activity that exhibits it. Empathy is a key tenet of being customer led or customer inspired. Is empathy for your customers embedded in your culture?   Here’s three easy ways to show that you are truly inspired by your customers.

1. Be Brave
Move away from your desk

Do you use your desk as a sanctuary – a safe place where you analyse market research data and talk about the customer and what you think they need? Do you really know who your customer is and what problems they have?   Get away from your desk and out of the office – observe your customers in their world. If you can, shadow them as they move through their day, ask questions that enable them to tell you how they feel. What tensions exist? Challenge and test your own assumptions and bias. Share your new understanding with everyone. You’ll be amazed about the simple things you will find.

2. Be bold
Include your customers, users and partners in designing your strategy.

So often organisations plan their strategy – the what and the how – in closed rooms. Extend who is involved in your strategy and business modeling sessions – not only to everyone in your organisation but also to your most valuable stakeholders – your customers. This is a bold move from traditional business planning and it in itself needs planning and different skills – but done well will reap you rewards.   Use narratives to engage and involve your customers. This is a sure fire way to finesse your strategy and ensure everyone understands and is aligned your purpose. You may be surprised what you discover!

3. Be “me”
Really stand in your customer’s shoes by being them.

Do you really believe in the product or service you sell?   Allow the time and place for you and your staff to “test drive” what you are offering. Don’t stop there – enable them to openly share their feelings as a customer – the good and the opportunities to improve. This can be done by encouraging role plays, enable staff to experience your product/ service.   There are some great examples of this that have reaped rewards. Methven Ltd – a supplier and designer of bathroom ware – installed a web lab that enabled employees to use their products and comment. Four Seasons Hotels encourage staff to stay and experience the luxury service and rooms.  You may think this is not possible with the type of product you sell – think harder. While at Cochlear the engineers developed a dummy sound processor that we could wear – experiencing the weight, day to day use and even how sounds changed with the different programs. It was a real eye opener and made me love the product and what organisation delivered even more.

Be brave, bold and be “me”

Being brave, bold and “me” will shed new light on your business and can build a culture of aligned purpose and satisfaction within. You may not always like what you hear, see or discover – but where there is unexpected customer truth there is opportunity. Customer Led Innovation has some simple yet powerful tools and tricks to help you discover the customer in the three ways above. “Doing” customer centricity, not just saying it will create a totally new way of thinking – it will develop new mindsets that intuitively place your customers at the heart of everything you do. Successful businesses grow not by selling to customers but by learning from them.

Ask yourself today:

What can I do today to truly understand my customer?

How can I be brave or be bold or be my customer?