GCIO Focus: 6 Steps to Becoming Truly Customer Obsessed

The question is, where to begin this journey?

Executives know the importance of improving customer experience and moving toward the day when all strategies, plans and tactics align to enable true obsession on improving the value delivered to customers. Lawmakers also understand the importance of this and have enacted legislation that aims to clear regulatory hurdles to become customer obsessed.  

The question is, where to begin this journey?

The answer depends on where you are today in your maturity of becoming customer obsessed. So, clearly then, your first step needs to be assessing where you are currently. Properly assessing that requires a comprehensive approach – it cannot be done by simply improving experiences, satisfaction scores and other isolated metrics. Rather, a well-done assessment evaluates the whole service delivery ecosystem, thereby providing the baseline and information needed from which to build a successful strategy.  There are six critical components to determining your starting point and strategy:

  • Structure: A key element in developing your strategy is to coordinate an organizational structure that breaks down existing silos and allows for seamless collaboration.

  • Culture: While executive support and training are important, the core change is to evolve to an organization always prioritizing the customer and customer’s needs.

  • Skills: Like culture, training is important, but shifting hiring practices from mostly skill based to hiring the customer-obsessed mindset needed for success becomes more important.

  • Metrics: The importance of measurement cannot be overstated and it is crucial to develop both executive-level metrics measuring the delivery of value to customers as well as functional-level metrics that tie to those executive-level measures.

  • Processes: This is largely a choice to decide to work differently together. Yes, there are challenges, but if leaders decide to form executive-level partnerships in support of working differently and facilitate and inspect their teams are working collaboratively, progress will happen. It is also important to adopt a common approach to experience design that connects ideation, design and development.

  • Technology: While it is no secret the government is embarking on a digital transformation, it is extremely important to move toward focusing increasing time and money on systems that engage and serve customers. Successful organizations ultimately operate with largely commoditized or standard internal systems and much more customized and flexible employee and customer-facing assets.

This first step in becoming an organization aligned and relentlessly focused on delivering value to customers is not easy and requires strong leadership and leadership coordination. However, your ability to subsequently create a winning strategy to become customer obsessed depends on it.