Lessons on Leadership: From Product-Centric to Customer-Centric
The operating psyche of many organizations traditionally is a product-based one – they try to sell as many products to as many customers as they can. But that model is less viable today than it once was, for financial service providers and others, said Doug Leather, author of The Customer-Centric Blueprint.
“A business that comes out today with a product doesn’t own a monopoly on that product,” said Leather, in an interview with CGAP, “and technology has allowed [other] companies to reverse-engineer their products, so you can’t really maintain a sustained leadership around that product.”
Customer centricity is an alternative model that is transforming how organizations do business. It is rooted in understanding current and future needs of customers, and designing and developing services based on those needs that make it easier for customers to engage with those services, Leather said.
More and more banks, microfinance institutions, mobile network operators and others who offer financial services are beginning the journey to customer centricity. Leather said becoming customer-centric requires a willingness and ability to change your organizational structure.
For leaders intrigued by customer centricity, a first step is to develop a deeper understanding of the customer-centric capabilities of your organization, as well as to develop a joint understanding among the executive team of what being customer-centric really means for the organization.