I can’t help but laugh when I see this picture. Declaring to be Customer Centric and telling employees to deliver Customer Value does not make it so.
Through my experiences, here is what I have learned about sustaining and scaling Customer Value
- Projects are easy; sustaining Customer Value at scale is hard: I have conducted a boat load of Customer Value projects. The projects have varied and at the same time been similar. They have all been similar in their mechanics…executive sponsor, working team, project plan, check points, decision frameworks, outcomes, results. Some of these projects have been wildly successful, some, not so much. If you call me up, I can do a Customer Value project for you and it will likely succeed and generate results. Everyone likes to get quick wins; get quick wins and do more projects, larger projects. This is all good stuff, but it does not lead to scaling Customer Value or Customer Centricity. So the message here is, do projects to generate early results but don’t get caught in the project rut, which brings me to point two.
- It’s not like changing a process: Companies are good at managing processes. You have to be in order to keep a company of any size organized and moving forward, and there are processes necessary to achieve Customer Centricity and deliver Customer Value at scale. But you know what; I find processes to be cold. You can hand over a new process for someone to follow, and you need to, but they don’t lead to scaling Customer Centricity. My message; pay attention to process but don’t be fooled into thinking process will lead to scaling Customer Centricity.
- Entrepreneurial from the ground up: If I had to point to one thing that is the secret to scaling Customer Centricity and delivering Customer Value, it would be to rekindle your entrepreneurial passion. I think this point is counterintuitive for many of us. I know it has taken me a long time to figure it out. Being Customer Centric and delivering Customer Value is built from the ground up. It is the entrepreneurial sole. Entrepreneur’s very survival hinges on customer, you can’t fake it, there is nowhere to hide. Listen to customers, adapt, and think creatively to solve problems. If entrepreneurs help their customer to make money they sometimes survive, if not they go away. Think about this as it regards your customer teams. Do they live and die based on whether or not their customers receive value from your product and service? Are they equipped with the tools to ensure your entire organization knows when their customer is not receiving value? Do those tools help the organization to move with speed? Does it move?
- It turns out there is a role for Executives: Don’t mess it up. In companies of size, executives are removed from customers. They are surrounded by the daily, and often overwhelming tasks of running the business. Whether the executive has the entrepreneurial spirit or not, they are not living in the entrepreneurial zone. They live in the zone of management. Once in a while these executives forget that a big part of their organization exists solely to serve customers, think customers, be customer centric, create value for customer, understand that value, work on creating more. That is the life of an entrepreneur. What executives can do is feed the entrepreneurial passion. Give their employees the tools, the room, the reward and the risks necessary to rekindle their entrepreneurial gene. There is an entrepreneur in every person.
Do your customer teams think of themselves as supreme beings compared to those two entrepreneurs working to win their first paying customer? In this question resides the key to scaling Customer Value and Customer Centricity.
Check out Other Blogs in this Series:
- Customer Value: Customer Value and Speed are Changing Everything in B2B
- Customer Value: What is Scaring Your C-Suite
- Customer Value: "Speed of the Game": Welcome to the new Customer Value Reality
- Customer Value: Achieving Speed with Simple
- Customer Value: "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!"
- Customer Value: "5 Signs that you might not be a Customer Value Company"
- Customer Value: Operating at Scale <-- You Are Here!