For years now, organizations have talked about customer-centricity and putting their customers at the heart of what they do. Yet, many, if not most, organizations still struggle to get this right across the board.
This is backed up by research from NTT Ltd.’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report. Now, while the research was conducted before the pandemic, it still provides a good illustration of where large organizations are at concerning their efforts to achieve customer-centricity and improve their overall customer experience.
Here are some highlights from the research:
- While 58% of the organizations surveyed consider customer experience to be a primary differentiator, only 8% of them report that they are delivering a fully functioning experience.
- Less than a third (32%) of organizations can connect data relationships between channels.
- Only 12% of organizations say customers rate brand experiences as entirely satisfactory.
- Finally, 61% of organizations agree that there is only partial collaboration between functions when it comes to designing customer experience, and 15% report that they don’t collaborate at all.
These results stand in stark contrast to much of the talk and enthusiasm around the importance of customer experience and the desire to become customer-centric.
However, what stands out for me is how many organizations haven’t made any significant progress or changes to the way they work in order to achieve these aims.
Now, I recognize that changing a large organization is hard and wholesale change is even harder.
But, is there a flaw in the way that organizations are approaching this challenge?
I discussed this recently with Professor John Seddon, author, occupational psychologist, systems thinker and Managing Director of Vanguard, a consultancy company. He characterized the situation as being one where:
“A lot of organizations talk outside in but their systems are not designed outside in”.
Don Schuerman, CTO & Vice President of Product Strategy and Marketing at Pegasystems Inc., in a separate conversation, believes that organizations, over time, haven’t helped themselves as they have ended up “putting their business logic in their channels rather at the heart of what they do”.
This Schuerman says means that “you end up with these weird experiences” that can “lead to some pretty bad and frustrating moments”.
So, should organizations be tearing down their structures and systems and be starting again with a blank sheet of paper?
Not necessarily, says Alan Trefler, Pegasystems’ CEO.
He recently made several announcements at Pegaworld iNspire, Pega’s annual conference, two of which were Center-out™ and Process Fabric™, which aim to tackle the customer-centricity problems that many organizations face.
Process Fabric™ is a new cloud-based software architecture that is designed to streamline how organizations work across distributed technologies. This “platform for platforms”, as they describe it, aims to break down technology and functional silos to help improve experiences for employees, customers, and partners.
Meanwhile, Center-out™ is an approach that puts customer-centric thinking at the heart of how organizations architect their systems and advocates starting with what the customer is trying to achieve and then working backwards from there to what systems, processes and channels need to look and act like in order to deliver those outcomes.
So, is this the way that we can finally get organizations to organize their work better so that they deliver on their promises and can better meet the needs of customers?
Well, it’s early days yet, but things do look promising.
And, probably preferable to tearing everything down and starting again with a blank sheet of paper.