Today we’ll learn about customer-centricity; the inclusion of customer-centricity in the scaled version 5.0 makes this topic an area of interest for many professionals.
Now before we get into the details, let’s first explore what customer centricity is? We believe it’s a mindset, a way of thinking, and the people who fall in this category or this way of thinking desire to know more about their customers. So they develop a capacity by which they can feel and start thinking like customers. They can detect their pain even sometime before the customer knows about those areas.
This mindset promotes organizations and individuals who also always make decisions based on how those decisions may impact the customers. “The customer becomes the center point for this decision-making. This type of mindset also talks about building long-term relationships with the customer. Rather than having just transactional relationships, it promotes partnership and long-term relationships.
“Now you may wonder, looks like these are great ideas why should someone not follow them, and what else the organization may focus on if they are not focusing on customers.”
Now, if we look around us in the organizations where we work, we can detect the focus of our management and our leadership in many organizations. We keep hearing that the organization wants to do something in the next two to three years. Often, this something is to profit from a particular revenue target or a percentage growth or capture a market share. Now, this is where many organizations start focusing. Traditionally it has been believed the purpose of the business is maximizing profit for the owners and shareholders. While maintaining corporate social responsibility to prevent doing something for which they get into jail. Still, overall the idea is maximizing profit for stakeholders and the owners. It makes the profit a center of the whole enterprise, and the customer is just a means of generating that profit. Let us see the difference between customer-centricity and the profit-centricity way of looking. In the profit-centricity space, the whole idea is how can we sell something to the customer, how can we make more money by selling our product to the customer, where is in a customer-centric space.
The discussion is all about how we can help our customers meet their needs, solving their problems with the help of our product or service because when a customer is buying something from us, the customer has some need. It could be that customers may be looking to save some cost with the help of your product or maybe looking for generating some more revenue growth in their place. It could be, in some cases, an emotional need where luxury or something they want to achieve by taking your product or services so customer-centric organization focuses on maximizing that value.
When we look at a relationship, most organizations maintain the relationship with their customer, the profit-centric organization. For them, the association is all about how we keep customers engaged. So that we can sell them something more in a future time where isn’t a customer-centric approach is more about what kind of a relationship our customers are looking for with us.
Rather than having something from the customer, I am looking for where my customers may get stuck while they are using my product or service over some time and how I can assist them. What kind of an expectation they might have from us, which is a whole approach to customer-centricity. If we take this further, customer-centricity is all about making the purpose of business maximize value for the customers while maintaining a profit. If we don’t have a profit, we don’t sustain it.
It’s all about bringing the customer to the center of your strategy. It isn’t that making profit is something that is supporting the whole process. After all, if we are not profitable, we may not serve our customers all the time. I get introduced to this concept during the initial days when I started my own company and read a book named “hug your customer” and that particular book. Many of us who were there ended up reading the book two to three times. That book shaped our focus towards customer-centricity, and I would say many of those ideas are still relatively well followed in our organization.
It’s quite an old concept. It is not like that with the new version of SAFe it is becoming something in the market. Nowadays, thanks to business agility, we will find many of the framework’s body of knowledge putting customer-centricity as a focus area. I would like to mention
Scale Agile little frameworks have business agility competencies, and their customer-centricity is at the center of the similar observation. In business agility Institute domains of business agility, their body of knowledge also focuses on putting the customer in the center. I believe most of the content that will come around business agility will give more importance to customer-centricity because that helps you sustain and know what you should be doing over a while to help your customers with the changing environment and their changing needs.
Now it’s not like that you always have to take care of all the customers. Some of us fire our customers and part of the customer base, so this is always a decision. Many organizations decide based on their purpose and overall alignment of what they want to do as an organization, which helps them identify a customer segment. Customers need to focus more, and this focus area may evolve as the business starts moving from one stage to another if you want to know more about customer-centricity, primarily from the focus of the business agility dimension. I would encourage you to check it out on a scaled agile framework command. You can also explore the “Business Agility Dot Institute” website. For checking up what their view is related to business agility and customer-centricity.