Business decision making has a power core. Knowing the heart and pulse that drives business decisions tells you a lot about how to move forward in customer experience.
When customers are the heart of your business decision making, leaders are united in efforts to deliver a reliable and differentiated customer experience. Customer needs drive the overall plan for what’s developed and delivered.
While silos exist (they’re not going away any time soon), they’re united with clarity of purpose in improving customers’ lives. Planning, decision-making and teams assemble for experience creation and delivery, rather than silo-based projects. Employees are empowered deliver solutions and points of contact that connect to the customer’s life.
When Customers are the Power Core
The Columbus Metropolitan Library not only has the customer at the core of their business, their organization chart also ensures that focus. Chief Customer Officer Alison Circle described this structure as the way to align everyone’s decision making lens around supporting the customer.
The library isn’t about warehousing books in buildings; it’s focus is on engaging their customers in reading and learning.
- Helping children to become life long readers and learners
- Providing parents with easier access to books and services
Business Decision Making that Delivers to the Customer
The customer experience at Columbus Metropolitan Library is all about how it can help its customers. One of the greatest predictors of success in kindergarten is books in the home. Their website features “Ready for Kindergarten,” which reminds parents, “You are your child’s first teacher.” Parents and grandparents can find book lessons, information on the four skills required for kindergarten, a “ready for kindergarten toolkit” and downloadable apps.
Other examples how the Columbus Metropolitan Library keeps the customer’s needs at the heart of business decision making:
Eliminating over-due fines
The fine for a book being late meant some of the library’s customers—often at-risk children—wouldn’t have access to necessary resources.
This was blocking their most vulnerable customers from library services. The library decided to find an incentive for people to be responsible and return books, not punish them for being late. As Alison noted in the Direct Line blog, “The library should be about access, not penalty.”
Distributing books to customers
“Most teen parents won’t go to the library,” Circle noted, “We can ignore it or we can do something about it, so we go to them.”
There’s now a “library on wheels” that brings books to the community and a team that visits at-risk families. The library also offers online access to e-books, audio books, digital movies and magazines, and online archives.
Read more about how the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Allison Circle put the customer at the heart of their business decision making: “Meet a Marketer Who Owns Customer Experience” from the Direct Line Blog.
Understand Your Company’s Power Core
Most companies have a dominant power core and it may not be the customer. The power core is one of the biggest determinants of how success, metrics, recognition, and company growth are defined. It can be the most influential in directing the silos and how they work together.
If you are just beginning to focus on the customer, its critical to understand the key partners who must see value in the customer experience. Your approach will be different depending on the power core. Proactively engage them to be a steadfast partner with you. If you are leading the work and have hit some resistance, you may find the answer why in determining your power core. In the addition to the customer, there are six common power cores that emerge for most companies: