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3 crucial skills for a customer-centric organisation

Harald Lamberts


31 May 2021

0 min read

Organizations that have completed their agile transformation often notice that many departments still work differently. There is a need for standardization to achieve efficiency in customer-centric working. Also, multidisciplinary working often does not happen automatically. By no means all teams are used to looking beyond departmental boundaries and seeking cooperation in order to form a customer-centric organization.

If the people in the teams are to make a difference, the organization must enable them to do so by providing the right tools, techniques, practices and skills. These are the three most important skills to deliver quality in a customer-oriented organization.

1 – Working and prioritizing based on opportunities

Based on work experience and gut feeling, it is easy to immediately dive into the solution. And that is precisely not the intention in a customer-centric organization. The solution is the end point, the customer insight the starting point.

Teams translate the gained customer insights (for example from user research or data) into opportunities. Those opportunities have a certain customer value and a business value that must be weighed. But how do you do that? It is quite an art to prioritize customer-centric and work towards solutions. But it is not an either/or scenario, it is in fact important to develop commercial value based on customer value.

2 – Multidisciplinary collaboration 

There is an additional challenge in customer-centric prioritization and finding solutions: the various teams and disciplines have to sit down together. We have to work beyond team or department boundaries to reinforce each other and accelerate together for the customer. To promote multidisciplinary cooperation, a joint ambition is needed. The teams then connect this ambition to be customer-centric to operational processes so that they can (and want to) work intensively together to achieve the goals.

A journey framework helps determine which customer journeys receive organization-wide focus. It ensures that everyone works from the same customer chain, both in terms of experience (customer journey) and from an operational point of view (service blueprint).

3 – Learn and adjust quickly

Experiment, test and validate. For some people, experimentation feels very unnatural and really requires a change in thinking. But in a customer-centric organization it is not about plans thought out down to the last detail, it is about being able to learn faster as an organization than your competitor. Teams must therefore learn to test and validate improvement concepts in order to subsequently roll them out on a large scale. Failure is also part of that. Better to fail and learn something than to be successful without knowing why.

Flourish as a team, triumph as a customer-centric organization

Working and prioritizing based on opportunities, multidisciplinary collaboration and fast learning and adjustment. These are all skills that you can train in order to form a customer-centric organization. As an individual, but preferably as a team. You learn faster together and in the end every team consists of a number of individuals who have to be attuned to each other as well as possible. A customer-centric organization flourishes when the people and the teams flourish, when they have the right skills. The ambition to be customer-centric therefore starts with the ambition to provide the people who have to do it with the right tools, techniques, working methods and skills.

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Harald Lamberts


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