On November 12th 2020, Livework hosted the first in a series of webinars titled “Driving Customer Centricity by Design.” As the name implies, the aim is to share insights into what it takes to orient organisations around their customers — using design as an enabler. This comes off the back of launching our very own Customer Centricity Tool, which was created with the purpose of allowing organisations to assess how close they truly are to their customers.
Drawing on a wealth of client relationships, built over nearly 20 years in the industry, this first webinar tapped into stories from the practice of two very different guest speakers: Peter Brook – Global Senior Director Omnichannel at adidas – and Thomas Foster – Global Head of Service Design at JP Morgan Asset and Wealth Management. Peter’s focus at adidas is to connect consumers with products through their omnichannel ambition — linking e-commerce with the retail experience and more. As he puts it, “At the heart of omnichannel is the idea of serving our consumer.” Tom centers his service design work at JPMorgan around conducting ‘first-class business in a first-class way’, a mission statement first expressed by J. P. Morgan Jr. (a former leader of the firm). In Tom’s own interpretation, “First class business in a first-class way must mean first-class services.”
- Creating a cultural shift
- Showing value to key stakeholders
- Learning from your mistakes
Tackling the cultural shift
The conversation began by looking at how an organisation should tackle the cultural shift of customer orientation, as it is a fundamental pillar in its success. Tom pointed out that although employees in JPMorgan embody different roles and interests, “everybody genuinely believes in delivering a first-class service”. This is especially important to remember when tapping into the motivations of senior management and gaining their support. Although already challenging, organisations should strive to go beyond just talking about the “voice of the customer” and start making decisions off the back of it.
Peter built on this by affirming that while drawing on the base motivations of an organisation and acting on them is crucial, it should also be proactive — “don’t wait for a cultural change to happen before trying to drive an outcome.” Adding to this, he noted that being customer-focused is “a combined effort of both top-down and bottom-up.” In the end, creating the desired cultural shift appears to come from making things tangible to stakeholders on all levels. This is, ultimately, what builds the necessary mindset.
Articulating value to top management
The next question tackled how to articulate value to these stakeholders, looking in particular at the biggest drivers for the C-Suite. Having a story, however small, that creates relatability is fundamental, explains Peter; “not to get drowned in that individual case, but to use it as an example to build trust and empowerment.” For example, use metrics to buy alignment.
This shows that although an organisation might optimise at different stages of a customer journey, it is rarely done as a whole. However, by changing the conversation with metrics and measures in this way, it can drive customer centricity at every rung of the organisation. To do this effectively “don’t go too fast or too slow, embed what you’ve got,” says Peter, and whether that’s fast or slow “you need to go together” adds Tom.
Lessons learned along the way
The webinar rounded out with an exchange of “lessons learned”, more specifically, what mistakes each speaker has made and other things that they feel have worked well. “Not spending enough time doing,” states Tom, talking about the importance of having both a strategy in place for customer centricity and putting it in action. Although it may seem as if there are 1,000 paths for doing so, having practical things — like a map of the services at the highest level of the organisation or a checklist to evaluate where the organisation is going — can help draft the path forward. It is also fundamental to speak to senior leaders about the direction that they would like to go in. More on this in our article Know your services.
For Peter, choosing where to put the effort comes from measuring success in relation to customer-centricity. Asking how customer-centric the organisation feels, formal metrics (like NPS and KPIs), and the usability of solutions are key. Adding that “mistakes are how you learn […] if you don’t succeed, you learn.” This speaks to the fact that organisations like adidas and JP Morgan are always growing by giving their staff the freedom and safety to try new things — knowing that, if you misstep, you’ve learnt something in the process. In a difficult journey like the one towards becoming customer-centric, that’s how you get there. There is no magic bullet, you need to take chances and pivot to see what works. More on this in our article CX playbook at adidas.
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