The importance of customers for any organisation is undeniable. However, according to the PBT Group so many businesses today tend to manage their organisations without acknowledging the importance of customers in their business models and operations.
Says Gerhard Botha, chief technology officer of PBT Group; “The philosophy of total quality management (TQM), which is predicated on Customer Centricity, has been around since the 60s, yet has still not made headway in most organisations.
“While contention for scarce resources is often cited as a reason for not implementing TQM, the question, then, I must ask is ‘How do organisations manage customer expectations effectively today?’ or are they just not being managed? Certainly, the latter could be detrimental to any service organisation.”
Continues Botha; “The reality is that today the customer is still king, no matter the industry, and so businesses should determine where the issues/gaps lie in their customer centricity strategy, if it exists, and continue to a place the customer at the core of their business models and processes.”
PBT Group notes that one problem experienced today is that employee incentives are not aligned to customer centric objectives. For example, employees are not incentivised to be customer centric. Furthermore, there are many instances today where customer relationship management (CRM), within a business, is not optimally being utilised in managing accounts and customers affectively.
“The apparent lack of customer centricity today may also be as a result of specific points of failure, particularly pertaining to people, systems integration, employee empowerment and training.
“This is an indication that priority has not been given to the systems and the processes within the business – that actually impact the consumer. Furthermore, many systems in an organisation simply do not have the flexibility to allow for what the customer want and are not flexible enough to handle their exceptions.”
For an organisation to be customer centric today, it must be capable of measuring customer satisfaction.
Continues Botha; “This aspect, not surprisingly, is at the centre of a mature TCM approach. Today, there is a lack of knowledge about the customer, which can be partly contributed to the lack of master data management and governance.
“Organisations tend to view processes from in internal efficiency perspective and not from the viewpoint of the customer – often failing to create a single view of the customer. In fact, customer segmentation is often based on stratification that is convenient or easy to understand for the business, rather than behaviour prediction.
“Value-based offerings should be based on lifestyle patterns highlighted through data mining not on arbitrary target selection, which is proven to be ineffective with marginal returns and does not contribute to customer centricity.”
Emerging from this, among other aspects, is a picture PBT Group highlights as one of disassociation between intension and execution for businesses, where consumer complacency today and narrowing margins are compelling organisations to increase efficiency rather than customer value and experience.
“This picture has to change. Many of the above mentioned points are barriers imposed by organisations upon themselves in terms of customer centricity.
“Yet, in an increasingly competitive world where globalisation and regionalisation is forever increasing competition, it is seemingly imperative that organisations must refocus on customer centricity and quality models that places the customer at the heart of their organisations systems, processes and structures – in an aim to remain profitable and relevant today.”