Thought Leadership Blog

It’s All About the Customer, Stupid – The Importance of Customer Centric PartnersOctober 1, 2013By Greg Dahlberg

customer centric cartoonMost organizations have the best of intentions when it comes to their customers. However, many firms fail to deliver on solving their customers’ strategic needs.

True customer centric organizations enable customers to make better business decisions and drive profitability. They add value by engaging customers in individual, interactive relationships. That’s what customer centricity is all about.

When evaluating technology partners, there are four factors you must consider if you are seeking a partner who can truly deliver solutions for your needs as opposed to offering what will be unfulfilled promises. Your partner should:

  • Place your needs first – When a customer has a question, they should not be passed between internal departments like a hot potato. What matters most is providing a quick solution. Customer engagement should have many touch points and not be hindered by arbitrary internal department lines set up by the technology provider.
  • Commit to your success – Customer success teams should have the necessary resources to proactively identify and quickly resolve any issues that arise. Providers who do not solve strategic initiatives should be relegated to offering commoditized products purchased based on price instead of serving as strategic partners whom executives rely on for value-added solutions.
  • Place the emphasis on you from their highest organizational levels – Senior leadership needs to be directly involved with customer success. Strong commitment from a company’s leaders is a common trait among customer centric organizations. This creates a culture in which your technology partner will proactively reach out to solve your problems instead of the all too common technology company approach of only calling when it’s time to collect their next check.
  • Demonstrate strong domain expertise – To truly understand and solve your problems, you need a partner who has been in your shoes. A partner with experience directly related to your vertical industry instead of suggesting that their roster of pharmaceutical customers provides deep automotive expertise. A partner who can hit the ground running on day one instead of using you as their guinea pig to see if their technology solutions can be retrofitted to solve your specific supply chain needs.

Customer centric organizations put your needs first. So next time you are adding a new technology provider or renew an existing relationship, make sure you select a customer centric partner. Don’t settle for a list of “what functionality they offer” when you ask “what strategic problems they solve” and “why their service is important.”

Don’t settle for 20th century business models. Select a customer centric partner to avoid having to explain to your boss why the initiative failed to deliver on its strategic goals and why it takes years to start seeing results – instead of weeks.

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