The Australian Institute of Management identified the key issue for Aussie CEOs in 2015 as “customer relationships”.
The research also indentified that CEOs were “kept awake” by “big data analytics, cyber security and the cloud”. Quoting the article, “Dr Malcolm Johnson says, these data issues are linked to the number one issue, improving customer relationships”.
The report on this research in the AIM magazine of June 2015 (pages seven and eight, written by Jacqueline Blondell) goes on to say that “if you are trying to meet your revenue targets, it’s your customers that are going to get you there”. Is this really saying that Australian CEOs have finally realised that customers are their key source of revenue..? Revenue does not come from products or service – it all comes from customers that are prepared to pay for the value they receive from the products and service we offer.
Australian CEOs may well be worried about “customer relationships” and the revenue that comes from those relationships especially when they often fail to firmly establish a vision and purpose that is about the customer, and then focus on collaboration across the business to achieve the results that come from the achievement of this vision.
Instead CEOs regularly focus on the operations and perceive the business as the driving force that creates revenue, rather than seeing their customers as ‘revenue streams’ and then place the emphasis on delivering value to the customer and unlocking how to turn these revenue taps on. Additionally, attention is often placed on the present, short term goals, rather than the activity that leads to achieving the longer term results. This short term focus will always raise the interests of the business and the people within it, over the customer’s needs and interest.
Customer-centricity works. It drives advocacy and the significant number of benefits that flow from that result. I often hear that “it’s not all about giving the customer what they want”. True. However, we do need to offer products and services that are relevant and meaningful for our customers, otherwise we go out of business. Yet, many organisations focus more on what they can do (read: the proliferation activity) and to me this is taking the easy road – the leaders prescribe activity that needs to take place, rather than articulating a vision that is about the customer, and describing business results that come from being customer-centric. If they did this, then this would provide some ‘pull’ across the business (through the silos) to deliver value for customers and achieve business results