How Do Senior Marketers Define Customer Centricity?

September 18, 2014

CMOCouncil-Customer-Views-Customer-Centricity-Sept2014The attributes that best define customer centricity are a senior management team committed to understanding the customer, functional alignment in support of a holistic customer experience strategy and a corporate culture that prioritizes customer satisfaction, according to a new study from the CMO Council and SAP. But while organizational processes must be in place to support a customer focus, what does customer centricity mean in the customer’s eyes?

Respondents to the survey were asked which of a series of attributes are most important in demonstrating customer centricity through the eyes of the customer. The top-ranked attributes, per the study, are:

  • Quick response times to customer requests or complaints (66%);
  • Fast response to issues and challenges (49%);
  • Products that reflect their own needs and wants (47%); and
  • Consistency of the experience across all touch points (45%).

Knowing the primary attributes is one thing – but executing them is, of course, another. And it appears that there’s plenty of room for improvement across many of the important factors outlined. Consider that, according to the survey results:

  • Only 45% of respondents rate the customer centricity of their organization as high (14%) or good (31%);
  • The same share believe their customers would rate their organization as high (11%) or good (34%) in this area;
  • Only 37% feel that their heads of operations, line-of-business leaders, finance, marketing, sales, point of sale/service and customer service are strongly (12%) or pretty well (25%) aligned around their customer experience strategy;
  • Just 1 in 4 have a formal customer experience management strategy;
  • 1 in 10 are highly satisfied with their company’s ability to listen and respond to the needs of the customer;
  • Only 1 in 5 have a comprehensive view of engagements and touch points across all of the stages of the customer lifecycle; and
  • Fewer than one-quarter agree that they have a unified view of the customer and a single version of the truth.

These difficulties come despite 9 in 10 respondents saying that customer centricity is critical to the success of their company.

It appears that the key challenges across people, processes and platforms are mostly related to the organizational attributes defined above: the biggest gap organizations are said to need to fill is a culture that focuses on the customer and values customer experience strategy. Team alignment and the establishment of processes that track to customer experience strategy are also areas that can help drive success.

Marketers can tackle those with some revenue goals in mind. While only 1 in 5 respondents have calculated how customer experience issues have directly impacted revenue, that group was more likely to have experience gains in revenues and customers because of customer experience than to have seen a negative impact.

About the Data: The data is based on an online survey fielded by the CMO Council during the second quarter of 2014. The findings include insights from 319 senior marketing executives. Some 39% of respondents represent organizations with more than $1 billion USD in revenue, with 52% representing B2B brands, 19% from B2C brands and 30% whose companies are a hybrid of B2B and B2C.

Almost all respondents currently reside in the US (61%) or Canada (34%).

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