Building a profitable and sustainable business is often achieved with the customer as the centre of the user experience. Customer-centricity is a system of carrying out a business with the sole focus on providing a positive customer experience in principle and practice. In the current ever-changing business environment, a great customer experience has moved from the point of sales to included after-sales experience to enhance profitability.
One critical advantage of a customer-centric organisation is an increase in competitive advantage in the marketplace. To become a customer-driven organisation, there must be an inside-out approach. The inside-out approach is a system where enhanced internal processes and people practises are the bedrock for winning in the marketplace. Essentially, an important driver towards the development and attainment of enhanced internal processes and people practice is an integrated learning system and approach within an organisation. Therefore, the following critical steps are important factors in embedding learning as a catalyst for a customer-centric organisation.
Learning Strategies to Building a Customer-Centric Organisation
Whenever the top leaders and the decision-makers see learning as an HR thing, it will always be difficult to encourage the employees to learn. Whereas when the top leaders are furious and continuous learners, it will be seamless as employees will take learning seriously. For example, I once worked with a CFO of a multinational company that championed an LMS within the organisation. He was not only championing the project and talking about the platform at executive meetings, but he learns about the LMS platform as well. He would also share his learnings points on the platform because the platform has a robust tool for community learning. The import of this is that, when leaders are committed to ongoing learning, employees are imitators of such leaders.
Learning as a Form of Investment
Most organisations see learning as an additional cost. Whereas, for any organisation to be customer-centric, it must have the requisite capacity to achieve its goals. One way of making your organisation a customer-focused one is by seeing learning as an investment. When you also invest in the capacity development of your employees, the organisation is invariably viewing its human resources as a value add. The value you do not give to your employees, never expect them to give to your clients because employees only give what they have.
Learning in all the Aspects of the Business Processes
Every business is going through one phase or the other. From strategy session to talent attraction to selection, performance review sessions, team meetings, project meetings, different crucial conversations, decision-making sessions and many others. During the above sessions and many more, ensuring learning points are strategically structured into these phases is another way of embedding learning culture into the organisation fabric which will, in turn, a customer-centric organisation.
Stop seeing Learning as a Compensation and Reward
Most employers and employees still view the nomination of participants to learning programmes as benefits. Some employers see sending employees to training programmes as a form of compensation and a time to cool off and relax. In the same vein, some employees, still view their attendance in learning as a time off. For an organisation that wishes to build a customer-centric organisation, embracing learning opportunities are real work and another opportunity to challenge the status quo.
Learning as a Change Enabler
The advent of COVID-19 brought a whole lot of changes to the business world. Organisations that scaled through the pandemic are organisations that adapted to the change that took the whole world by surprise. For some organisation, the capacity to scale through the tough period has been previously developed while others had to learn during the pandemic. Nevertheless, one notable denominator for successful organisations during the last pandemic was that they were learning organisation. To learn and apply what have been learnt are to adapt oneself to change. Learning is a change enabler.
Learning from mistakes, experience, failure (process, product/services) is another way of embedding learning culture as a catalyst for a customer-centric organisation. Most leaders often punish employees for failure as well as the inability to meet deadlines. Not always should the failure of a project or product be an outright failure. However, for every failure, there are learning points. A product or services failure is an indicator of better ways of becoming a customer-centric organisation. Therefore, learnings should always be drawn from it.
The End from the Beginning
Having a mindset of growth and continuous improvement is another way of making learning an enabler of a customer-centric organisation. Organisations that thinks ahead of others will always learn and develop the capacity to deliver value to their clients. Another way is through a growth mindset which can be sustained by thinking about how the end will look from the beginning. Designing the user experience from the beginning will most times precipitate learning and enhance customer-centricity.
Above all, learning strategies steps for building a customer-centric organisation are unlimited and multifaceted. Notably, a customer-centric organisation is attainable through consented efforts to meeting the customers’ needs vis-à-vis continuous improvement by making your organisation a learning organisation through a deliberate implementation of the points above.
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Olanrewaju Ojolo holds B.A (Hons.) in English/Arts (2007), a Member of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (MCIPM) 2021. He was a certified Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) in 2015. He bagged a master’s degree in Managerial Psychology from the University of Lagos in 2016. He has a special interest in Learning and Development, Performance Management System, Talent Management & Optimization, with know-how in core areas of HR practice. He has a penchant for creating an enabling environment for the success of a business strategy. He is an HR Professional with experience that cut across consulting, financial services/insurance and the oil & gas sector.