‘We are reorganising in Business Units to meet customer expectations’. Actually, not, no customer has called you to ask you to reorganise to meet their expectations. Customers want products, service, cost effectiveness or anything else. They don’t care about your structure, processes, systems and cost cutting exercises.
We are doing lots of things on behalf of the customer, which the customer shouting ‘Sorry, not in my name!’
The following things are not the same:
- What the customer wants
- What do you think your customer want
- What the customer needs
- What the customer does not even know that he needs, wants or even be possible to do.
- How the customer may react and you are very afraid of. (Here custumer-centrism is more of a Trip Advisor syndrome)
Industry after industry, people who innovate and succeed go beyond what customers say and need and want.
The old heroic, alpha-male leader, incredibly customer centric and responsive ‘The customer is always right’ is simple nonsense. Actually, the customer may be wrong. No, very wrong. Not even wrong.
But back to the us-centric world, once you have worked out the above 5 customer lines, you’ll start calling a spade-a-spade, or a cat a cat. Reorganization, new business units, cost cutting re-sizing and other, should be right in their own merits. If you need to invoke the customer to justify your rearrangements of the chairs in a potential Titanic, you are in bad shape.
Customer-centrism is a vacuous mantra unless you start unpacking the whole thing and articulate it into behaviours. Until then, it’s a decoy.