Market - Customer-focused Employees
Customers play a critical role in business success. Yet, when pushed to evaluate how well they are exhibiting customer focus, many admit they're not doing so to the extent that they should. A global study of customer focus trends by i4cp found that some of the biggest gaps surfaced in "creating excitement among employees for our products and services" and "being customer-focused at all customer touch points, not just sales and customer service." These disappointing trends are magnified by the fact that "focus on the customer" reigns as the top issue impacting people management in i4cp's Major Issues Survey.
Through decades of research, i4cp has found that high-performance organizations have customer-focused workforces that live and breathe the following three market-oriented principles:
- External focus
High-performance organizations are more willing than others to hear what is best for the customer rather than what is best for the organization.
- Philosophical approach
High-performance organizations intend to be the "best in the world" at providing value and exceeding customer expectations, and not just through marketing spin.
- Internal processes
High-performance organizations also tend to be better at creating and maintaining internal processes that best meet the needs of the customer. They are more flexible to market needs.
It's clear that organizations should increase their focus on meeting customer needs. They also need to go beyond simply recognizing the importance of customer focus and put plans into action across many levels of their business. Forward-thinking firms feature customers prominently in vision statements, scorecard measures, innovation efforts, employee performance standards, reward programs and other important areas of business operations. These concerted efforts can have a serious bottom-line impact.
To aid member organizations, i4cp conducts research in the following Market Knowledge Centers:
Creativity and Innovation
Explores the growing importance of innovation in the marketplace and the ways in which organizations are using creativity to achieve competitive advantage.
Outlines the reasons that customer focus has permeated many organizations and looks at the strategies companies use to achieve this.
Provides information and analysis on market forces demanding higher levels of quality, with descriptions of the latest quality tools and standards as well as summaries of current corporate practices.