Uniting the leadership team in the purpose of delivering one-company experiences and connecting it to business growth occurs with my clients when we can simplify the “why” behind this work in a manner that they can stand behind and communicate as their own.
I’ve been asked, “How do you persuade top management that customer centricity is not a cost?” In order to do so, you must affect change in four areas that shift the mindset of the leadership team and elevate the customer within the consideration set.
Pivotal Leadership Shift: Elevate Customers as Assets.
Customers as Assets measure the impact of the end-to-end experience of your organization. It measures what customers actually DID (via their behaviors), versus what they SAY they are going to do (via surveys). Measuring customers as assets illuminates how customers voted with their feet to a) stay or leave, b) get more or less from you, c) bring others to you. Most important, it shifts conversations about this work from the internally driven attention to the achievement of sales or a survey score, to caring about customers’ lives. To care about “why” customer behavior changed as a result of their journey with you.
Your opportunity is to gain leadership attention to this simple definition of success. To create desire for knowing and managing customer asset performance with the same rigor applied to sales, revenue, and IBITA performance. Honoring and managing the customer asset leads directly to those three results leaders care about.
Customers as Assets Is an Attitude Shift, Not a Dashboard.
Customer Asset Metrics when embraced and communicated consistently across leadership shed a new light on why you are in business. In their simplicity, they drive action. You either keep or lose or grow customers or you don’t. Caring about that will change your leaders’ behaviors. It will help you transform your business.
Remove Survey Score Addiction by Adding Customer Asset Metrics.
So often when executives talk about commitment to customer experience, they connect it primarily to survey score results. That is because, in the absence of other simple ways to measure progress, such as a united one-company tracking of customer growth or loss, that score is the one quantifiable measure of success. Getting good scores leads conversations rather than a discussion of customers’ lives.
There is a disquieting conflict between the focus on customers’ lives that surveys are intended to improve and the organizational behaviors that ensue from trying to get ‘good’ survey results. I’ve seen too many conversations about results devoid of conversations about actual customers.
The endgame becomes the score. Spreadsheets mire leaders down in calculations on lift required by survey question to earn increased scores. So embedded is this addiction, that many clients tell me; sending the survey, waiting for results and trying to get ‘lift’ on the score is their complete customer strategy.
Elevating Customers as Assets Diminishes ‘Leap of Faith’ for this Work.
Let me ask you a question: Is your job about getting the items fixed that emerge out of survey results? Are you seen as the ‘fix it’ person? If you are, then this work is still not thought of as a growth strategy. It’s thought of as a cost to the business. It’s seen as new work layered on top of the ‘real’ work (love that, don’t we?) Which may be why your place on the CEO agenda moves down and down the agenda until sometimes it slips right off the page.
This lack of understanding of how to quantify success in this work drives survey score addiction. As a result, the score becomes the standard bearer of success. And the work becomes every silo going into the dashboard to figure out what they can do to create ‘lift’ on the part of the score that their operation impacts.
It is why your job may be ruled by it right now. The only metrics considered an indicator of how well customers and partners are being treated are survey scores. Questions we asked customers after the fact about how we did. And how those scores stack up to competitors.
So, ponder this:
What would change in your company if every executive meeting started with “Did we earn the right to customer growth?”
Then move to specifics. By segment of your customer base, how many new customers were acquired, in whole numbers – volume and value?
Next, by segment of your customer base, how many customers did we lose, in whole numbers – volume?
And most importantly “WHY?” What did we do to grow or shrink this asset? Across the entire operation, not just in sales or service – but also as a result of the overall experience?
A lot different than looking at survey scores and discussing getting ‘lift’ on that number without talking about customers’ lives, isn’t it? And that’s the power of elevating and honoring customers as assets. It lays the groundwork to enable the work because it connects it to ROI and growth. It unites leaders.
Embracing customers as assets shifts the attitude of leaders and ultimately the organization because the purpose is to earn the right to growth by improving the life of customers. When you improve the life, the score will follow. It will. But the shift is to start the work with the customer life, not the score. And that is no small shift.
Doing “customer math” has changed and shifted CEO and leadership teams’ perception of this work and connected it to ROI all over the world in every type of B-B and B-C company. This is one of the key topics in my new book, Would You Do That To Your Mother?
Originally published on Quora