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Becoming Customer-Centric: Five Obstacles

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According to Siebel Systems, Inc., San Mateo, Calif., “most organizations approach customers from an inside looking out perspective, rather than from the customers outside looking in perspective.”

Five major obstacles typically stand in the way of achieving this customer-centric orientation:

Information silos. Customer data is scattered throughout the organization in discrete area or “information silos” based on product or line of business. “This gives organizations a highly fragmented and incomplete view of their customers,” says Siebel.

Disconnected channels. In many organizations, information channels are not synchronized, which could result in a disjointed and unsatisfying customer experience.

Business processes do not reflect best practices. In most cases, a companys processes are not designed with customer needs and preferences in mind. This may prevent a company from being flexible in responding to customer requests for changes, for example.

Unaligned employees. Organizations may not be able to keep all employees informed about–and aligned with–corporate objectives and customer requirements. This lack of communication could mean that employees may not be able to do their jobs effectively, and that managers may not have the tools to optimize workforce performance.

Poorly coordinated business partners. Just as employees need to be aligned with corporate goals, a companys partners need to be aligned with the companys objectives. Organizations need to monitor and manage the performance of partnerships.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, February 4, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.

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