In this article I will share four actions which can help companies ease the transition to a customer-facing culture.
Even among firms with strong engineering, scientific and R&D legacies, it is increasingly common for executives to want their companies to become more customer-facing.
That aspiration is admirable – these are the companies that thoroughly understand their customers and fully incorporate customer insights into their own plans and priorities.
Does your organization have a customer facing culture? Here are four actions which can help companies ease the transition to a customer-facing culture..
1. Create the right connections
With the right connections between your people and those in the customer organization – your product development experts and the customer’s product development experts, your logistics managers and the customer’s logistics managers – discussions become fruitful and open an ongoing exchange. Too often, the implementation of “getting other departments involved” is taking them on sales calls. This may be useful and necessary, but rarely is the way to build sustained interaction.
2. Focus on the future
An agenda that includes future looking topics creates excitement and interest, and encourages creative new ideas. All too often, discussion defaults to either current operations or a past problem. Success stories won’t come out of every interaction, but occur often enough when the right people are talking about the right topics, and the opportunity to do something is in front of them.
3. Bring clarity, energy, and cadence to interactions
It takes a real commitment – and usually a very proactive champion – to jumpstart an effective relationship with a customer organization. Best practice organizations have a plan for their interactions with customers, and ensure that someone is responsible for making that plan happen.
4. Track goals with meaningful measurements
If your organization is going to be committed to customer relationships, there should be meaningful measurements in place reflecting the goals of the program. We’ve all heard some version of the statement “if it’s not measured, it doesn’t matter.” That truth applies here as well.
The payoff from success in building a customer-facing culture is enormous. To be part of such shared successes along with your customers, the entire organization must believe in and contribute to creating and nourishing customer relationships.
About the Author
George F. Brown, Jr. is one of the founders and CEO of Blue Canyon Partners, Inc. In recent years, he has helped clients develop and implement strategies to achieve global market presence and reach decisions relating to segmentation strategies, pricing, channel management, and major customer relationship management. He is the coauthor of CoDestiny: Overcome Your Growth Challenges by Helping Your Customers Overcome Theirs, published by Greenleaf Book Group Press of Austin, TX.