This article contains an unedited excerpt from our new book, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, due out in May. We hope you enjoy it!
Where does customer sit in your business?
If you have a customer strategy, chances are they sit right at the heart (high five!)
If you don’t, well, there’s still hope! Whether you’re a small business or a medium to large one, a customer strategy or plan can help you get where you want to be – a more sustainable, profitable business + a much happier business owner or leader.
Check out an excerpt from our book, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, below, for how you can close the gap between strategy + operations by putting the customer at the heart of everything you do (ie. having a customer strategy!)
Close the gap between strategy + operations [Excerpt from Chapter 11 of our new book]
As part of our book research phase, we surveyed a range of business leaders on whether they had a formal customer strategy in place in their business.
While all of them could rattle off their long list of strategies, less than three per cent had an identifiable, dedicated customer strategy. When you think about it, this is crazy considering customers are the ultimate reason any organisation or business exists.
Strategy is a crucial business tool
Strategy is about what you do and what you don’t do.
– Costas Markides
Strategy is the game plan chosen from a range of options. This isn’t a book about broad strategy or even business vision – we figure you already know how each of these business elements work together. This is about your customer strategy, the one that’s missing from the armoury of business.
But let’s have a quick chat about vision and strategy to set the scene.
Strategies are important, right? Of course they are. They chart our way forward towards our vision, our destination, ‘the island we’re rowing to’, as we like to say at Customer Frame.
Without a strategy, your organisation can appear rudderless. Your entire team can lack direction, seemingly rowing in different directions. Truth is, they’re probably really trying hard to get somewhere, it’s just that that ‘somewhere’ isn’t known. Your business vision is unclear. There isn’t a common destination and vision that they share. But they’re still trying.
Most businesses have an overarching business strategy, and then (when done well), functional strategies and plans that support the wider business strategy and vision.
So, what is a customer strategy?
A customer strategy is just like your average business or HR or IT strategy. Except, it’s not.
A customer strategy’s purpose is to help organisational leaders and teams to put the customer at the heart of your business or organisation. It is the strategy that you create, adopt and deploy to build the necessary organisational capabilities to be a truly customer-led entity. These capabilities are the foundation for everything you do – product development, marketing, sales, service, support functions, everything.
A customer strategy’s purpose is to help leaders and teams to put the customer at the heart of your business or organisation.
Supporting your corporate strategy, it sets a destination, a place you want to be in the future in relation to your customer. It supports and informs your plan, laying out your roadmap to reach that destination, that ‘customer-led nirvana’, if you like.
What’s the difference?
The difference between a customer strategy and say, a HR or IT strategy is that the customer strategy must sit across the entire organisation, not just one specific department. With a HR strategy for example, the HR Director is in charge of HR’s strategic priorities, plans and KPIs, which primarily charts the priorities and actions of the HR team specifically.
The customer strategy, on the other hand, spans the entire organisation. It makes the customer everyone’s business. Ideally the customer strategy would be headed by a Customer Director or CCO, but depending on the size of business, this might not be possible. It’s one of the few strategies that is truly owned by everyone in the organisation.
This article is an unedited excerpt from the upcoming book from authors Sueanne Carr + Peter Turner (aka the Dynamic Duo of Customer-led Transformation) titled, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, due out May 2023.
Written for courageous leaders who are in charge of or charged with making their organisation truly customer-led, it provides a simple and powerful roadmap to making it happen.
Join the waitlist here.
A globally accomplished strategy professional, Sueanne is passionate about connecting businesses with the ultimate reason they exist: their customers. Her impressive reach has transformed market-leading brands such as lastminute.com, Terry White Chemmart, PPQ, Brisbane Powerhouse, AVIS, Travelocity, Hays Recruitment, Visit Sunshine Coast + Tourism Queensland.
With customer experience in her DNA, she is committed to transforming businesses + regions through aligning people, products + places. Her empathetic + decisive style breaks through business barriers, + brings everybody from board room to back office on the journey.