The ‘Customer is King’, the ‘Customer is always right’, ‘customer obsessed’ or whatever term you want to supplant - all companies claim they focus on the customer. And why wouldn’t you? No customer wants to hear they are not the central focus.
However, the reality of what we say and what we do is not always aligned. We are not as customer obsessed as we think we are. We are silo’ed and incented in those silos, not on how we enhance the customer experience. Think about it – you have teams focused on selling their products, like men’s clothing, women’s clothing or credit cards, and you have different teams focused on minimizing costs across their channel. You also have IT, Dev and other teams that I haven’t even mentioned. Every person and team working towards their own specific goal.
While a silo’ed organizational structure is helpful for accounting and salary incentives, it complicates the customer journey and the customer experience because it drive focus away from both. According to the PWC 2016 CEO study, “Most US CEOs (74%) believe there are more threats to their business growth today than existed three years ago.” This business environment is forcing organizations to change the way they look at, plan, and test ideas and strategies to meet customer expectations, and that requires breaking down silos.
Marketers are at the center of this shift because customer experience is becoming a key indicator for revenue. According to Michael Hinshaw, “CMO’s that focus on the buyer’s journey reaps over 50% greater return on marketing investments than for those that don’t.” I have worked for several CMOs and all of the great ones have always focused on metrics that are indicators of the only metric that really matters - revenue. We marketers need higher conversions, open rates, downloads and etc. But at the top of the house, in a growth driven market like we are in today, revenue is the one metric that matters most.
According to Forrester research, customer experience leaders have a 14% greater compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015. Each and every moment in the customer experience is important - your customer has far too many options and depending on your vertical, price may be transparent. Aligning your organization around incentive systems instead of the customer is a structure that is hurting your bottom line.
Today’s digital world gives organizations an unprecedented ability to obtain detailed pictures of where their customers are in their journey. If you are not fully capitalizing on this visibility, you are missing out on revenue. Organizations need to have an agile way to innovate their business and validate their ideas in order to accelerate revenue. This means companies need to rethink the systems they have in place that are standing in the way. An agile organization will ensure only the best ideas are brought into the customer journey and the customer interaction points.
Don’t just say you are customer obsessed. Change your organization to really make the customer king and you will be rewarded like one.