Gaining customer understanding and the utilisation of information in decision-making have become one of the success factors for companies and organisations. Without customer understanding, there is no genuine customer orientation.
Customer-oriented companies are changing more rapidly than before on organisational, business models and service levels. Previously, companies implemented their strategy more clearly. In today’s organisations strategy may be a series of experiments aimed at seeking the right direction for the company.
In the world of the platform economy, the vitality of many companies depends upon systemic symbiosis. To understand the customer, we therefore need to also understand the complexity that surrounds the customer.
To get the most out of customer understanding we should focus on:
1. Decentralised management requires extensive customer understanding
New ways of thinking in managing and organising an organisation include, for example, decentralised management, continuous accumulation of customer understanding, and the application of customer understanding to multiple levels of the organisation.
These developments have shaped the way to make decisions. Previously, so-called leadership made the most of the major decisions. Nowadays many organisations give decision-making power to all levels of the organisation. Customer understanding needs to reach all these tens or hundreds of decision makers.
2. Rapid decision-making often requires complete customer understanding
The pace of change, the increased availability of information, the requirements of a global playing field, and new management models, have all been speeding up business decision-making. However, speeding up decision-making does not always mean better decisions. There is a need to accumulate customer understanding constantly so that it can be offered when we need quick support to decision making with an up-to-date customer understanding.
3. Service engagement challenges customer understanding
Recently in many industries, companies have increased their share of services in their business. In many cases products and services form an integrated solution for the customer. As the share of services grows, it is important to rethink the scope and way of collecting customer understanding.
Ways to get started
Accumulating and utilising customer understanding has become more challenging than before. Too often, corporate user surveys focus exclusively on the early stages of development projects and shed light on the world of customers from a limited perspective. A fragmented picture does not support good decision-making.
Precisely targeted studies require a more general picture of customers, their needs, and their operating environment. A customer-generated overview would be useful for the company’s daily decision-making. A solid basic understanding of customers delivers improved decisions, rather than simply throwing dice.
Sharing knowledge is also a challenge. Often, one half of the company does not know what the other half already knows about customers. The next objective can be to start maintaining combined analysis of customer data and studies. That serves as an up-to-date information source for various decision makers willing to make customer driven decisions.