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 behavior. The change process is fueled by market changes and the game is to keep up or ahead of those changes.
The game is being better than competition at delivering on or exceeding the expectations of the customer.
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 enables the facilitation of real conversations between real people, where there is common interest. This phenomenon is driving demand for voice of the customer analytics. Customers have real needs, companies try to 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 not driven by business rules and rulers rather by the rules of the customer’s preference. A customer driven system must be lead by closing the gaps between the “voice of the system” and the “voice of the customer”.
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 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.
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 and ruler’s have to change. That is if the real intent is to better serve the intent of the customer.