The Key to a Customer-Centric Strategy

The Key to a Customer-Centric Strategy

The Gist

  • Building a customer centric strategy. Beyond collaboration, compromise is key to achieving customer-centricity and cross-organizational unity.
  • Awareness precedes compromise. Recognizing internal challenges and needs fosters compromise, leading to improved interdepartmental cooperation.
  • Compromise drives efficiency. Mutual compromise within organizations is crucial for implementing efficient, automated processes that benefit customers.

In business, “collaboration” is the default answer to the question, “How can we drive a philosophy of customer-centric behavior across our company?” While collaboration is indeed necessary, it’s not the complete answer. Sometimes it helps when leaders, in their effort to persuade, are able to point to a deeper, more practical and specific capability than just a veneer represented by the noun, “collaboration.” Sometimes the secret to making progress toward a customer centric strategy as a cross-organizational principle is the verb, “compromise.”

Isn’t that a sign of weakness in business? Hardly. When you see that word and you think about it in the context of business, does your mind immediately go to negotiations associated with the sales process? That would be the typical reflex response.

But that scenario barely scratches the surface of the volume of opportunities for compromise that are available within a typical enterprise business. Exposing other scenarios and thinking of them as opportunities for gaining a mutual understanding — the first step toward true collaboration — might go a long way toward advancing both a philosophy of a customer centric approach and the company strategy.

Customer Centric Strategy: Compromise Doubling as a Door Opener and a Silo Buster

When we need something from another party, we might eventually warm, even grudgingly, to the notion that compromise is an implicit acceptance that the other party’s position is valid. And that, to some extent, we might need to relax our position if we want to achieve our goals.

Becoming Aware of the Challenges

But to get to the point where we feel we might need to compromise, we must first become conscious that our position can present a challenge for other parties. In the business context, an example is what we do every day. We execute our processes without being conscious whether they could be improved to benefit customers through the involvement of other parties and developing a customer centric culture.

What each party should consider is this: How could another party help me achieve my goals? Awareness can come from looking at what each organization already has within its control in order to do its job and what it needs that is beyond its control. Awareness is the first step toward eventual appreciation and compromise.

Business associates compromise and shake hands in piece about using a customer-centric approach.
Awareness is the first step toward eventual appreciation and compromise.Wasan on Adobe Stock Photos

Let’s look at the four major organizations with direct revenue impact in a typical enterprise company.


What Is Stopping Collaboration?

What jumps out at you from this table? Does collaboration? What’s stopping people in these organizations from just reaching out and asking for the information they need from the other organization to develop a customer centric approach? Actually, nothing is preventing them from doing that, and in thousands of companies, that’s exactly what happens on a day-to-day basis.

But that’s the problem. In so many companies, that transactional activity of asking and receiving happens in an ad hoc, usually poorly documented, inefficient and expensive way. Some might refer to that kind of interaction as an example of collaboration, and in a sense it is. But because of its insidious nature, it also just happens to be one that is damaging to a company’s overall productivity and, weirdly, one that perpetuates the silos that everyone professes that they want to dismantle.

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