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  • OD intervention: Understand customer culture

OD intervention: Understand customer culture

28-May-2014

A first step to develop a customer culture. This OD intervention has a presentation that explains what a customer culture and paradigm is, and an activity to help a team to develop a  clear picture or vision of their organization in the future, if everyone was living and acting according to a customer culture.

When moving from a product culture to a customer-centric culture, employees often complain about an 'unclear vision'. 

  • This is because their leaders, who operate under a paradigm of customer-centricity, often talk about 'putting the customer first.' However the systems, processes, policies, and procedures in an organization, often reward sales, or cost cutting, rather than actions associated with attracting and retaining customers. 
  • When one part of the organization supports a product or efficiency paradigm, and another part of the organization talks about how important customers are, employees become confused by the mixed messages they are receiving from their leaders. 
  • Employees often resolve the conflict between the different paradigms (efficiency vs putting the customer first), by doing what they feel safe and comfortable with. Doing what they have always done. Some of them believe that if they continue doing what they are doing, and are nice to their customers - they are being customer focused. The end result is that the culture doesn't change.
  • The key reason that many organizations cannot successful transform from a product to a customer culture, is that the leaders and employees alike don't understand the paradigm shift that is required to transform their culture. 
  • You can't create a customer-centric culture by adding a few HR programmes onto a product-centered organization.

  • Until everyone in the organization understands the full package that goes with a product-centred paradigm, and compare that to the full package that goes with a customer-centred paradigm, they will continue operating in much the same way. They won't change the key drivers of cultural change. And they won't work on aligning everything they do, to a customer rather than a product paradigm.
  • Educating people in what it means to be customer centric is the first step in building a customer centric culture.

This intervention begins with a presentation of the full package of what is required under a customer centric paradigm, compared to a product centered paradigm. It then provides a right brain activity  in which teams develop a clear vision of what it would be like in the future if their organization were truly customer-centric.

This is a practical activity - ideal for workshops and conferences. It is a popular activity in strategy, change, cultural transformation or Organizational Development workshops. It energizes a group, and gets them excited about creating a customer focused or customer centric culture.

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Understand Customer Culture Intervention


See our other OD interventions in the OD interventions library


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