Must You Be Small To Be Customer-Centric?
As they grow, it’s surprising how many companies seem to get further and further away from what made them successful in the first place—their customers.
In the “enterprise” environment, factors such as culture, systems, metrics, and rewards tend to focus more on activities and transactions than on softer measures, such as customer relationships, perceptions, and expectations. It’s with some justification that executives at smaller companies believe they’re closer to their customers and feel they are more deserving of their customers’ loyalty than executives at larger companies.
You’d think that larger companies, with more resources, greater customer awareness, and dominant market share would win this battle hands-down. After all, most big companies started as small companies. And they got bigger because—in theory—they were better able to understand their customers than their competition. At some point, they had to have had an intimate understanding of customer needs, and did a good job meeting them. Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) wasn’t an abstract research input into a customer experience analytics dashboard, but something management listened to and often lived with every day.
It’s no secret that the ways customers interact with and gather information about companies is changing. Business buyers or consumers demand more and get it from more places than ever.
This creates a significant opportunity for smaller, fast-growth companies when it comes to leveraging the ever-more-powerful-and-pervasive technologies available to them to see, to hear, to learn from, and to speak to their customers in new and more intelligent ways. And in the process, delivering customer experiences that are not only tailored to customer needs, but have the ability to evolve, drive new sources of revenue, and create the kind of loyalty that most companies only dream of.
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Michael Hinshaw is President / CEO of McorpCX, a customer experience research, brand and strategy consultancy based in the San Francisco area. An innovative executive, consultant and educator, he has over 20 years’ experience in...