Given the excitement around the World Series, it seems fitting to turn to a quote from Babe Ruth…
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
My take: Who knew that the Babe was a management guru?!? He was clearly foreshadowing the 3rd principle of Experience-Based Differentiation: Treat customer experience as a discipline, not a function.
I am starting to see more companies ask me how to develop a customer-centric DNA. That’s a great sign. It means that firms recognize that improving customer experience requires an enterprise-wide effort, not just some changes by a few front-line employees (see my post: My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free).
In a Forrester report that I wrote in March 2005 called The Customer Experience Value Chain, I said that Customer-Centric DNA consists of two elements:
- Customer familiarity. Databases and spreadsheets don’t buy things – people do. That’s why firms must go beyond analytics to understand their target customers. A good practice: Use field research to observe how users engage with channels like Web sites, kiosks, or stores – asking probing questions to uncover what users are trying to do, how they’re trying to do it, and what they’re thinking about during the process.
- Organizational engagement. Since internal alignment remains a critical challenge to improving customer experience, firms can’t just rely on the nebulous notion of “executive buy-in.” To create the change necessary across the company, firms need to engage in company-wide efforts that demonstrate a clear commitment to serving customer needs.
I think that is still a good way to think about Customer-Centric DNA.
The bottom line: Sometimes insight really does come out of the mouth of Babes.