The phone or chat line is open, and/or the e-mail has been received. The customer is experiencing the effects of an outage, bug, breakdown, failure of the technology they purchased to function as documented or promised -- however you want to describe it, the bottom line effect is spelled l-o-s-s. Lost profit, lost opportunity, lost productivity; the waste-meter is ticking. Will the company's claim of customer centricity be more than just words?
All across the corporate world, there's a metric and a means of capturing the data for nearly every possible operational detail to be found in any customer contact center. First Call Resolution Rate. (FCR) Average Speed to Answer. (ASA) Abandons. Escalations. Adherence. Volume. Average Handle Time. (AHT) Service Level Compliance. The problem is that the result is a deluge of largely irrelevant information. The most critically important contact center metrics of all -- Profitability and Customer Retention Rate -- are neither acknowledged nor tracked.
The decision to transform a company, to recode its essential DNA for customer centricity, is not something to be considered lightly. The shift is not about changing what you do or merely improving how fast you do it for your customers; true customer centricity begins with the very definition of who you are and why as a company. The effects of such a profound reinvention of company identity necessarily will be global, touching every aspect and level of the organization's strategy, process, people and technology. If the change is real, movement will be seen in the perceived value of both the skill sets and knowledge of the individuals themselves and in how people are organized and deployed within the firm.
"Customer Centricity," according to the Wharton School of Business, requires that a company conceive of and manage themselves "not as a group of products, services, territories or functions, but as a portfolio of customers." The essence of that definition is a strategic decision, to align your perception of who you are and what you do as a company in terms of an ongoing relationship with your customers. The effects of making and implementing such a choice are profound, fundamentally changing the company's workflow, organizational structure, people and technology. But it will take Senior Management strategic vision, and the will/commitment to turn that vision into reality. Does your company have it?