Business leaders collect data and subsequently when confronted with the aggregate analysis the typical reaction is to create organizational change aimed at improving the negative results highlighted in the data.
The subsequent change initiatives consume internal resources, already overloaded with work, and typically involve outside consultants who make their living trying to help organizations gain from implementing change. Lots of time, energy and money is spent simply trying to align an organization with customer and market preferences.
The game is being better than competition at delivering on or exceeding the expectations of the customer and the entire market an organization serves.
So the challenge for business leaders is to organize people, processes and products/services that consistently and continuously deliver beyond what is expected and prepare for future expectations.
The two points of critical measurement are 1) “the voice of the system” (internal people and processes) and 2) “the voice of the customer and markets” (customers and suppliers aggregated as a market).
Where are these voices?
The social web’s interactive nature and ability to facilitate real conversations between real people, where there is common interest, is the phenomena driving voice of the customer analytics. Customers have real needs, companies offer real solutions. Voice of the customer research is driven by this common interest and a sincere desire to share and listen. Customer driven organizations are the result of technology used to forward the idea that ‘the common good’ can be explored best through democratic systems. A democratic system must be lead and by the “voice of the system”.
The “voice of the system“, internal people and processes, is very similar to the “voice of the customer” in that the common element which provides the most valuable input and influence is the people.
What Are The People Saying?
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s recently released a study called “Profitability from Customer Affinity“. A high level review of the most significant and noteworthy research findings included:
- Fifty-six percent of vendors perceive themselves as being extremely customer-centric, but only 12% of customers agree.
- An overwhelming majority of vendors—85%—are convinced that they are getting better at responding to customer needs, but 45% of customers disagree.
- More than half of customers surveyed described their relationships with vendors as “dependent and captive,” “struggling for common ground,” or “combative and adversarial.”
- When asked to describe their relationships with the channel, 45% of customers surveyed evaluated their channel relationships similarly.
- More than 30% of customer respondents said they would terminate relationships with companies that fail to gain their trust; 62% would scale back existing engagements, while 7% would no longer consider the vendor for future business.
The flyer we received for the report states “The full Profitability from Customer Affinity” report will help you rethink how you embrace, interact with and respond to your customers. The complete report is available for purchase for $299.00 by simply clicking here. .”
Notice how big the “gap” is between the voice of the customer and the voice of the system? Just maybe the root cause is a lack of listening by business leaders combined with the inability to effectively initiate top down changes within their organizations.
Ironically when you look at employee survey results the data pretty much reflects the same as the “voice of the customer”.
Maybe we can save a ton of money by simply paying attention to the blinding flash of the obvious. Then again leaders would have to let go of their control so that the people can fix the obvious. The rules of the game have changed and now business rules have to change.
What say you?