But who is my customer?

How to beat the challenges facing Chief Customer Officers – Part 3 of 3

Key insights into the best ways to cultivate a customer-centric culture.

By Amanda Salter

In the first two articles in the series we looked at the challenge of who ‘owns’ the customer and how to manage diverse departments. Here we continue to look at the challenges facing CCOs.

The question of ‘Who is my customer?’ is particularly challenging for B to B to C organisations. Should you focus on your direct customer – i.e. the business you’re providing services or products for – or the end user?

Our principle is always this – for quicker results, start closer to home before branching out. This means starting with your immediate customers first (i.e. the B to B side of things), and focus on the end user later (i.e. the B to C). This is because it’s always easier to get results when you are on more familiar territory.

As an addition to this we’ve recently seen a welcome shift to include employees and colleagues in the “customer” pool as well. After all, they’re your internal customers and without them on side, your vision will struggle to take off.

But this is also where things can become a little trickier. How do you choose whether to optimise for employees or customers? Is the state of your internal organisation processes and tools the biggest thing that is hindering your overall customer experience? Or will improving your customers’ experience provide better results? If you’re unsure, then it might be best to start with your customers. Here the impact and benefit of any changes will be more visible to everyone, thus helping to build support for the rest of your initiatives. What you can do:

Make day-to-day improvements

Don’t underestimate the impact of improving life at work for your employees, one department at a time.

Why? You can’t convince your employees to deliver a great customer experience if their own tools, systems, and processes give them a terrible work experience.

Always go for the biggest win first

When you’re faced with a choice of where to prioritise your efforts, always go for the thing that will give you the biggest impact first.

Why? In the early days of establishing credibility as a business unit, it’s really important to demonstrate results and ROI quickly. You can then build on early success to fund and fuel later initiatives. Simple idea but it still works.

Map your customer journey

Customer journey mapping is a great way to uncover new opportunities.

Why? You can use this technique to focus on your customers (and the end user) to identify gaps in your product or service offering.

Broaden your horizon

If everything close to home is going ok and you’re looking to spot new opportunities to drive value, then look to your customers’ customers.

Why? Focusing on your end user can help you uncover and address new needs that can expand your service portfolio and yield better results.

That finishes our round up of the key nuggets from Sands’ article, and our take on them. If you’d like to find out more about any of the ideas, please drop us a line at info@newtidea.com

Other articles in the series:

Part 1 – Who owns the customer
Part 2 – How to manage diverse departments

Read more:

This recent McKinsey report has some interesting ideas on the importance of building a business case to secure buy in and build momentum: Linking the customer experience to value by Joel Maynes and Alex Rawson, McKinsey & Co

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