As customer experience (CX) leaders, we live in remarkable times. Firms like Dyson, Apple, LocalMotors are turning often incredibly dull and commodity items into works of admiration that customers love to use…and for which they are willing to pay premiums. Others like Uber, AirBnB, and Dollar Shave Club are reinventing industries with entirely new business, operational and technology models.
The financial success of these companies put design thinking and customer experience on the front cover of Harvard Business Review’s September 2015 issue. Since then, customer experience leaders have made tremendous strides, elevating into the C-suite of the biggest companies, and continually proving that their role is integral to remain competitive in the current and future market. Over 22% of Fortune 100 companies already have a “chief customer officer” or some other title whose mandate is to advocate for the customer’s needs across the company.
While many firms have started laying fantastic foundations for getting better at CX (e.g. voice of the customer programs, journey mapping) and are enjoying unprecedented visibility, most companies deliver mediocre experiences. That’s because firms were designed and optimized for product fulfillment, not customer success. Building capabilities like listening to customers and mapping journeys are critical to get started and can identify low-hanging problems to fix immediately. But alone, they hit a wall when they fail to address the core issues stemming from organizational design.
To move beyond break-fix, firms need to look at their organizational design through a customer-focused lens. When I started this exercise, I simply turned to a very common organizational design model: the Galbraith Star. To begin getting a sense of what it starts looking like to rethink your organizational design for customer experience, consider a few examples:
Every firm that embarks on transformation from a product-centric to a customer-centric company is on a voyage. Certainly starting out by building foundations and getting to the place where at least they are fixing the problems that create detractors is commendable. However, for those that after a few years of doing this work hit a wall, the place to look is at organizational design. It’s one thing to intentionally design a one-off experience…the next level is to intentionally design the organization for customer experience.