Do companies really care about customers? With all the talk about customer experience and digital transformation, you'd think the answer is obviously yes. But based on recent conversations, there's a lot of people that still need convincing.
Recently Geoffrey Moore (best-selling author of Crossing the Chasm) posted two LinkedIn articles on why and how companies should have a customer-centric focus. His first article, "Digital Systems Maturity Model", discussed a path for companies to move from "systems of record" to "systems of engagement" and beyond. In his second article, "The Manufacturer's Dilemma," Mr. Moore discusses how companies are still focused on efficiency and not customer success.
From these articles, it's clear that companies are still a long way off from convincing themselves that they need to focus on the customer. Some quotes from Mr. Moore:
- "Unfortunately, our systems of record are still organized around the products, and they make it very difficult to get a single view of the customer. Moreover, they are optimized for internal efficiency, not external effectiveness ... the first step to “getting digital” in 2017 is to retrofit your systems of record for a customer-centric operating model."
- "If your systems of record are woefully behind in their accommodation of customer-centricity, you now have a “two stair” challenge ahead of you. You have to get both your systems of record and your systems of engagement up to par before the end of this decade."
- "Find out what specifically customers are doing with your product, how they are getting along, and what input they might have to make future releases better. If they are not having success with your product, then they will welcome the chance to tell you all about it, and you are going to want to listen."
- "The good news is that when manufacturers do commit to customer success, and demonstrate it through systems of engagement that involve the customer in a direct dialog, then the customers reciprocate. They are more loyal to your brand. They are more willing to engage with you directly. They are less willing for channel partners to disintermediate their relationship with you."
So is this just one person's view? Unfortunately not. I heard similar comments from a leading partner at one of the world's largest consulting firm. He thought it was critical for the firm's clients to think about the big picture of how customers embrace products, but many of his colleagues didn't get it. Many people in the CRM practice didn't understand why they should care about how their clients made products, and others in the PLM practice didn't get why they should care about how their clients sold products.
For us at Propel, it's our hope that companies see the light and come around to Geoffrey Moore's customer-centric viewpoint. It really is all about focusing on how customers embrace your products. Like many other PLM software companies, of course we help engineering and manufacturing make great products, but we think it's just as critical to get customers, partners, sales, and marketing all involved in making products a success in the market.