Organizational decision-making drives customer loyalty

Organizational Decision-Making

Deloitte recently did a study of 7,000+ companies in 130+ countries called Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016. You can see the full report and its findings at that link, but one of the more interesting parts is represented in this graph:

Organizational Decision-Making

As Josh Bersin summarizes here on Forbes, the biggest trend in Deloitte’s research is an increasing focus on teams — as opposed to just leaders — for future business growth. This makes sense. Although hierarchy will always be around as an organizational structure and the backbone of organizational decision-making, increasingly work and projects are getting done in teams — and if those teams have to sit around and wait for decisions to come back down from above, that limits the effectiveness and productivity of the overall company.

Organizational decision-making is a crucial topic in the modern business environment, and it’s absolutely essential to driving customer growth and customer loyalty. Let’s explore a little bit more.

Why Organizational Decision-Making Is A Challenge For Most Companies

In a word? Silos. A CFO and a CMO and a CIO all have different metrics they’re evaluated on by their boss (logically the CEO), and as a result of this, each functional silo receives different information from their leader and is led to believe different aspects of the company’s operational plan matter more (usually the aspect related to that function, i.e. “Finance drives this company” or “Marketing is the backbone of what we do”).

In reality, the customer is the backbone of everything you do.

Customer-Focused Organizational Decision-Making Begins With Connecting Silos

I call this one-company leadership. If interested in much more around this, check out Chief Customer Officer 2.0 or I Love You More Than My Dog. You have to connect silos and get to one-company leadership because unless you connect silos, the CCO role won’t even matter that much in your company — other decision-makers will assume “Oh, the CCO owns customer experience.” That’s actually the wrong approach. Everyone with decision-making authority needs to own customer experience — the CIO and CMO are huge in this process too, as they impact how technology and messaging hits the customer.

If each silo is focused on their targets and their goals, you can’t achieve customer-driven growth — because the experience that the customer receives will be disjointed and confusing.

Moving Towards One-Company Leadership For Organizational Decision-Making

Again, this is a challenge — and I work with companies often on these types of organizational decision-making and organizational structure issues. I’ll give you the higher-order bullet points on it here:

  • The CEO must model collaborative and team-building best practices, and hold everyone accountable to the same customer-facing goals
  • Quarterly (or even monthly) collaborative meetings where data is shared and collective decisions are reached
  • Putting the managers in the shoes of the customers — making them go through a digital sales process, for example, or working in a warehouse filling orders; the goal here is to bring senior decision-makers closer to the customer level to flesh out potential pain points (which senior executives rarely get to see, but often hear about)

I’ve also written about managerial decision-making in the past, and you can check out that post for more on this topic and the general alignment of roles, goals, and norms.

The Big Takeaway On Organizational Decision-Making

If you take nothing else away from this post, take away these steps:

  • Each department of an organization is important for functional capability and specific skills, but they don’t actually drive the company forward
  • The company is driven forward by customer growth and loyalty, and that applies in B2B and B2C
  • You need to align your organizational decision-making to promote customer growth and loyalty
  • The first step in that process is connecting silos, or moving towards one-company leadership
  • Without that step, every other step you pursue in the name of organizational decision-making will likely fall flat

If you have different insights about organizational decision-making or have seen effective approaches in the name of customer growth where you work, leave some thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear more!

4 thoughts on “Organizational decision-making drives customer loyalty

  1. Interesting article Jeanne. I’m slightly wary about the suggestion that “everyone with decision-making authority needs to own customer experience…”. Surely there must be an ultimate owner, who coordinates the contribution and responsibilities of each business function? I believe that every single person in the organisation should be fully bought in to customer experience. They should also have the scope to raise problems and innovate solutions. However, “ownership” should sit with a specific individual who holds others to account.

  2. Jeanne Bliss says:

    Hi Jez,
    I am a strong advocate of a chief customer officer, or a group of leaders who unite the organization and establish a one-company blueprint for how they will and will not growth. We are in agreement! Not everyone ‘owns’ the experience…but it is important that people have a line of sight to how the work they do impacts the experience, and that they are enabled to deliver value.

    Jeanne

  3. Sam Simpson says:

    I love it when you said that “the company is driven forward by customer growth and loyalty”. It is one thing to provide a service or product, but it is a whole other thing to allow your company to be completely aligned by your customers. Thanks for sharing.

    Sam

    1. Jeanne Bliss says:

      My pleasure Sam. Hope you are thriving in your work!

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