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What if your customers made your selection decisions?

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BadConsultant has a small number of primary absolute favourite questions

[“what did you do with that seaweed exactly?” is but one of them]

the numéro uno of which is “WHY?”, or more precisely…

WHY?

and close on the heels of that one is the glorious, unleashing power of “What if…” which, as anyone will tell you is the jump off point for many a story, novel, poem or mega-merger. Having spent a couple of days doing what we do best – reinventing the corporate world – our energy has naturally been drawn to our favourite questions. Why? and What if? So we’ll call this part one and fully expect that over time a series of questions (and the answers we find) will emerge.

So, to Part I…

What if your customers made your selection decisions?

Pick a recently created mission statement and

[once you’ve stopped laughing]

you’ll likely stumble across three words:

  1. value
  2. global
  3. customer

[we’ll choose not to rant about mission statements here, you don’t have the time or energy to take what we’ve got to say in that arena]

Many companies will claim to be customer-focused, customer-centric or even customer-led. But, aside from standing at the registers and yelling that it can’t cost that much, what say does the customer really have in a company’s inner workings?

User groups in product design perhaps, focus groups in brand development maybe, satisfaction surveys in service industries often

[please be aware that the content of this blog may be recorded to assist in blog-rep training]

these are all ways in which we give the customer some voice. But, as we move into an age of transcendence for organizations (a term which was coined long before the economic soufflé we’re going through now) is it time for more than that? Think about it. In most companies, the only selection decision that involves external input is generally that of the CEO and other members of the executive team – the board has a vested interest in that. But nearly every other selection decision happens internally with no input from the customer.

Erm…

Isn’t that a recipe for disaster? Isn’t that the height of arrogance?

[Shut up customer! We’ll tell you what you want!]

And if neither of those things, it is certainly the lie to claims of customer-centricity, customer-focus and being customer-led. We’re not just talking about the front line customer-facing roles, either. We’re talking soup to nuts strategic planners to financial account auditors, leaders to shop floor workers. Would you be willing to lift the lid of the box to your customer; who are, after, the supposed centre of each of your waking minutes? Would you?

So, now let’s play what if with the overall question:

What if…

  1. … your customers described the experience they expect from your brand in terms of roles and responsibilities of team members?
  2. … your customers had to define role interfaces and interdependencies?
  3. … your customers got to vote on which competencies (from the inevitable laundry list you have) were most important, or even critical, to their decision to give you money?
  4. … your customers interviewed prospective recruits and had final veto power over the hiring decision?

Of course, these are just a few of the ‘What if…’s that we’ve been playing with in this area, but then that’s just us with our strategic fun-hats on – we won’t overload you with them right now

[because, obviously, we’ll sell them to you later… Duh!]

As always, keep bringing s*** and fan together!

Hasta l’huego,

BC