Customer Centricity is a business strategy and culture that puts the customer first, with decisions made based on the impact they will have on the customer. This applies across all aspects of work and can have multiple manifestations.
The more granular you get, the clearer it will become what you need to improve. At Amdocs, we developed a program for measuring and improving customer centricity – the Amdocs Customer Centricity Framework. It looks at six different domains which we believe are all key. Our last tip roundup focused on Prioritization. This time we’ll focus on Creating Value, which is whether or not you are taking the necessary steps to ensure you are meeting your customer’s desired business outcomes, as well as exceeding on them with innovation.
In this blog I’ll focus on the second part – how do you generate fresh, innovative ideas for your customer?
Tip #1: Involve people from different disciplines and backgrounds in brainstorming and ideation sessions.
“I sometimes compare brainstorming to the drilling of oil wells. The only way to strike oil is to drill a lot of wells”- Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza
Did your customer share with you a business challenge you would like to help them with but cannot tackle on your own? How about a work-related problem - are you facing one which you are finding hard to solve?
Holding an "ideation" session with others can help, and brainstorming is one way to go about it and the most frequently practiced form of ideation.
When setting a brainstorming session, make a point to invite people from different disciplines and backgrounds for unique perspectives and point of views - this is important for driving ideation and creativity.
And remember: Make the session a safe space for everyone to say anything, without judgement or criticism, welcoming all ideas, even crazy ones!
Tip #2: Remove red tape, so people can see their good ideas in action, quickly, and so your customers can too!
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do" - John Wooden, an American basketball coach nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood" who led UCLA Bruins to 10 national titles in 12 seasons
Now let’s say you come up with great ideas during that brainstorming session - will you be able to make them happen? Here are some of the main obstacles you might face:
- Your manager/other people do not think it is a good idea
- By the time you get it approved, it is no longer relevant
- There is no budget to make it happen
- You just don’t have the time to see it through
- You decide to make it happen, later
If any of these apply to your work environment, have a team brainstorm to see how some of these barriers can be removed!
Tip #3: The genius ideas can be the simplest ones!
The power of the "bookbook".
Peter Drucker, an Austrian American management consultant, educator and author considered the founder of modern management, cited simplicity as one of the key principles of innovation:
“An innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and it has to be focused. It should do only one thing, otherwise it confuses. If it is not simple, it won’t work. Everything new runs into trouble; if complicated, it cannot be repaired or fixed. All effective innovations are breathtakingly simple. Indeed, the greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say: ‘This is obvious. Why didn’t I think of it?'”
A simple idea can get through the development process faster, translating more easily across the different departments and teams which need to get involved to make it a reality. It will also be easier for your customers to understand, breaking through the overwhelming amount of choice and information they are bombarded with.
Here’s a great example from IKEA, who just wanted people to take note of their annual catalogue when it arrives in their mailbox. Their creative agency came up with an idea so genius that the ad hit over 9 million views in just one week and won several awards. Does the heavy use of closeup on plain background and detailed product description seem familiar to you?