If your customer-centric walk does not match your customer-centric talk, then you are losing sales and profits to your competitors. BCG has documented the negative effects of corporate “introversion” in the linked article. Here are some ideas on how to capture more sales and profits.
Beware of corporate inertia. A body in motion tends to remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Likewise, corporations move in the same direction and repeat the same actions until they stop working. Often, they recognize change too late to save the company. Make sure you have a way to detect and cope with change as early as possible.
Reward customer focus. I teach that customers are the only critics who matter. Too many managers are focused only on activities that add no value for customers. Change your job descriptions and KRAs so that every employee keeps the customer in mind. Reward those who do things to improve the lives of customers.
Expand the development and use of customer insights. Introverted companies use customer insights to improve selling and product development. Extroverted companies use customer insights to drive strategy. GM, Ford and Chrysler applied outdated insights, and they continued building beautiful, gas-guzzling comfort machines long after American drivers’ tastes had changed. Toyota, Honda and Nissan learned that Americans had come to value economy and durability more than style, and they defeated the “Big 3” on their home turf.
Become customer-centric in your actions – not just your talk – and you will maximize your sales and profits while preserving your competitive advantage.
Related reading: The Introverted Corporation