When you don’t know where to start, it’s better to simply start

Companies across industries have started to understand that a philosophy based on production and products no longer works and that they need to base their operations on the customer’s perspective, placing the customer at the core of their activities. But how can this be achieved?

The customer experience feels quite tangible; you can consider it from your own perspective in any industry, and the NPS provides a suitable benchmark. However, the bigger picture, in other words, the shift in philosophies and culture, cannot be clarified by staring at customer experience indicators. You need something else.

A company that wants to stand out with its customer-oriented approach and offer an excellent customer experience should dare to genuinely challenge how it thinks. Viewing your business operations from the customer’s perspective and understanding their expectations is easier said than done.

This is often the starting point with our clients. Companies want to start building a more customer-oriented approach while ensuring that tangible methods and tools are constantly created along the way.

At a general level, the first thing to do is clarify the following:

1.    Who is our customer? Whose needs are we fulfilling? Who does the success of our business operations depend on now and in the future?

2.    What is changing about their overall behaviour and life? What about their behaviour in the industry? Which megatrends and dynamics affect customers?

3.    What value do we produce for our customers? Which customer needs are we responding to with our products and services?

4.    Who are our direct and indirect competitors? How does the customer otherwise fulfil the identified needs? 

5.    What are our competitive assets? Why would the customer choose us over another supplier?

A group representing different teams works on these questions, building shared insight on the megatrends and current phenomena affecting our customers, learning how other industries have responded to changes, listening to customers and testing hypotheses, asking questions and brainstorming, and choosing process steps where customer insight will be added as input and as support for decision-making processes. 

A customer-oriented approach is the sum of many parts

Frankly built a framework for a customer-oriented approach. The framework is called the DNA model for a customer-oriented approach and it was validated at Aalto University. Alongside the previously asked questions, we recommend using a self-assessment to analyse progress with elements of a customer-oriented approach: where you have achieved good progress, which areas still need a lot of work. The model supplements the overall understanding of the subsections of a customer-oriented approach and makes it possible to prioritise.

And then, there’s the roadmap! What is our vision? What is our goal? What are our first steps towards our goal? What is the first thing we must do to improve our ability to see our business operations from the perspective of our customers? What might the next steps be? When your group is assembled from different teams, working together and putting ideas into practice are included in the roadmap from the first day onwards.

One word of encouragement we can offer you is that companies usually take several, vital steps towards a customer-oriented approach before even starting this process, meaning that your company is likely to already possess some elements that will provide a great foundation. All you need is a systematic process and the insight to tie these elements together, supplement some of the missing pieces and choose the next steps.

Are you interested?

What is it like to start the process towards a more customer-oriented approach with frankly? Learn more about our cooperation with WSOY, for example.

If you wish to discuss this theme with us, please contact: [email protected], tel. +358(0)40 558 8041.

Kirsi Kalpio
Business Designer