One of the most popular buzzwords nowadays is customer-first or putting your customer at the centre of every business decision and activity.
I stand behind it. The Inbound PR methodology preaches this customer or as I call it persona-first thinking and in fact doesn't really work without it.
Far too many businesses are still putting their products and services first when it comes to their marketing, sales and communications decisions even though they say they're customer-centric.
In fact, over 80% of businesses are talking about the benefits of a customer-first approach, but few of these are turning talk into action.
This stat comes from Optimizely - a leader in customer experimentation technology that did research earlier this year around the digital experience economy.
I dug into it and I want to share some key findings and learnings:
8 Key Problems for Customer-First:
- Over half (51%) of respondents said customer centricity isn't focused on enough in their organization, despite the rhetoric.
- Two-thirds (66%) of global businesses are either moderately or very concerned about being digitally disrupted by their competition.
- 48% of businesses are struggling to meet customer demands for high-quality digital experiences.
- 91% of respondents claimed that their organisation's employees are capable of delivering a constant flow of new ideas focused on improving the digital customer experience.
- Over a third (34%) say that organisational structures make it too difficult to turn an idea into reality.
- 34% of team members say they don't have time to focus on new ideas at all either.
- One in five organizations (20%) still have a culture where failure is not an option and is viewed negatively hence why employees are afraid of suggesting not to mention trying new ideas out.
- 40% of business decision-makers don't understand what their organisation means by 'digital transformation.'
Two Key Solutions to Being Customer-First:
- Cross-functional collaboration: According to the research, businesses are failing because their organisations aren't set up for collaboration. 79 % of business leaders admin that the customer experience would benefit if the product, marketing, and IT/engineering teams worked together more closely.
- Experimentation: 80% of companies see experimentation as a solution to meeting customer digital demands.
What's my take on this?
I'll just say this: companies are afraid to change. I see this with Inbound PR and generally with the adoption of new digital methods and technology all the time. People say they want to change but they are afraid to take a risk, make a mistake and are more concerned with the loss and not the gain.
This is a natural reaction to the unknown but to me, it's just the wrong way of looking at life and business. Change means progress. Without the willingness to at least try, you will never be able to change nor progress in a digital world that's moving and changing basically every second. Organisations need to learn to keep up by being more agile and open to experimenting and constantly discovering new opportunities as well as areas to retire.