In the realm of modern business, the quest for customer-centricity takes on the character of a strategic venture—fraught with challenges yet ripe with proven top and bottom-line rewards. However, like intrepid explorers who encounter obstacles along the way, business leaders often stumble upon common pitfalls that unknowingly jeopardize their path to competitive-level customer-centricity.  This episode of What’s Your Edge? delves into four prevalent mistakes related to strategy, data, insights, and measurement that are often made in the pursuit of customer-centricity and how these missteps can be transformed into strategic advantages for success.

Ready to recognize and overcome common stumbling blocks to chart a course to success? Let the exploration begin!

Lack of a Strong and Clearly Communicated Customer-Centric Strategy

One of the first obstacles we often encounter in our work with business leaders is the absence of a strongstrategy, data, customer centricity, insights, analytics, customers, quest, measurement clearly communicated strategy. Business leaders would do well to heed the wise words of Jeroen Kraaijenbrink who teaches at the University of Amsterdam Business School and the TSM Business School in Enschede, “organizations today still need to be prepared for the future, find ways to distinguish themselves, stability to maintain themselves, common frame of reference everyone can refer to, and alignment and guidance for the actions that they perform. Without any one of these core functions of strategy, the risk of drifting away with the winds of change is simply too large for any organization today.”

A customer-centric quest without a strong strategy can result in fragmented efforts and inconsistent customer experiences.

How to Course Correct:

Before you begin your quest, define what customer-centricity means for your organization. According to Dr. Peter Fader, author of Customer Centricity, a company that is customer-focused offers customers a consistently great and relevant experience across all touch points. You are customer-centric when you’re customer-focused and your business efforts are focused on high-value customers with an emphasis on customer lifetime value.  Start developing your strategy by answering these two questions:

  1. What are your customers’ most vital needs and desires?
  2. How can you surpass your competitors in fulfilling these needs?

Use the answers to these questions to create a customer-centric strategy that serves as a beacon. Outline your goals and chart the path you’ll take to achieve them. Ensure that this strategy is not hidden away in an obscure file but is shared across your organization, inspiring everyone from employees to partners, to align their efforts with the quest for customer-centricity.

Ineffective Use of Data to Uncover Valuable Customer Insights

Without the right analytics framework and skills, more data does not necessarily yield more insights. While most organizations havestrategy, data, customer centricity, insights, analytics, customers, quest, measurement access to a treasure trove of data, many organizations struggle with using this data effectively. As a result, businesses fail to uncover valuable insights needed to succeed in their customer-centric quest.

Since 2012, NewVantage Partners has conducted a survey of data and information executives. In their most recent study, they found that “just 23.9% of companies characterize themselves as data-driven, and only 20.6% say that they have developed a data culture within their organizations, reflecting that becoming data-driven is a long and difficult journey that organizations increasingly recognize playing out over years or decades.”

How to Course Correct:

The data-to-insights journey is a quest of its own. Focus on creating a data-to-insights culture. To master the art and science of data, equip your organization with well-experienced professionals and resources needed to collect, analyze, and interpret customer data effectively.

Break down the barriers that confine your data in hard-to-access silos. Make your data accessible and shareable so everyone tasked with the customer-centricity quest can identify opportunities to improve strategies, processes, and customer interactions.  

Failure to Turn Customer Insights into Powerful Actions

As we venture deeper into the realm of analytics, we often uncover priceless insights about our customers. Yet, astrategy, data, customer centricity, insights, analytics, customers, quest, measurement Forrester report found that while 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” only 29% are actually successful at connecting analytics to action. A study by Fivetran, a global leader in modern data integration, revealed, that “while ubiquitous for enterprises today, very few companies are able to correctly leverage the data of these systems for decision-making.”

How to Course Correct

The quest to achieve customer-centricity is greatly hampered if your organization remains challenged to translate insights into action. It’s akin to acquiring a valuable tool but not knowing how to wield its power. One way to tackle this challenge is with a well-honed insights supply chain.

Borrow the five supply chain stages from The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model to Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, and Return to maximize your opportunity to increase customer value and sustain a competitive advantage.

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Neglecting to Measure 3 Important Customer Centricity Measures 

How will you know how close you are to achieving your customer-centricity quest?  Many organizations neglect todata, customer centricity, insights, analytics, customers, quest, measurement measure their journey toward customer-centricity, making it challenging to discern what is working and what adjustments are needed. Lack of customer-centric measures is a fourth common mistake.

Without clear measurable outcomes for your customer-centric initiatives and the ability to diligently track your progress, it will be hard to stay on the right path.

How to Course Correct

In our guide “Bring Your A-Game to a Customer Empowered Market” and our “CustomerDNA” Infographic, we offer activities & actions, approaches & strategies, and the 3 most important measures, that together predict whether you will win more customers by improving customer-centricity. Use the CustomerDNA model as a framework and checklist to determine what it takes to achieve a customer-centric growth A-Game and how to measure your success. The white paper covers seven signals that you may be off your A-Game and recommends 5 steps to get it back.

Be the hero in your organization’s quest for customer-centricity by ensuring your organization doesn’t fall victim to these four common mistakes.  It is possible to overcome each pitfall and emerge from your customer-centricity quest more competitive and resilient, better attuned to your customers’ needs and priorities, and well-prepared for the ever-evolving business landscape. Be brave adventurers and fully reap the rewards of a customer-focused future.

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