New research finds that the difference between successful businesses and underperforming ones often lies in the way they treat their customers.
In fact, companies that fail to focus their cultures, strategies and employees on pleasing customers are encouraging failure, according to a study from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and the American Management Association (AMA).
This study’s author said that the best-performing organizations — as defined by their revenue growth, profitability, market share and customer satisfaction — understand that being customer-focused requires a blend of attraction, engagement, satisfaction, collaboration and retention.
A big problem is that many organizations fail to live up to the guarantees they make to their customers, the study revealed. Nearly 35 percent of those surveyed said their organization doesn’t keep the promises they make to customers. “Failed promises can be as simple as poor service or unresponsiveness and may extend to more complex issues, such as inconsistent quality,” Donovan said.
Researchers found that in order to become more customer-focused, there has to be a commitment from the people at the top of the organization. The study discovered that executives at high-performance organizations are three times more likely as executives at lower-performing companies to support the successful execution of customer-focused strategies.
Additionally, the study found that these kinds of organizations are four times more likely than lower performers to set clear customer satisfaction goals. High performers are also five times more likely to align internal systems and processes with customer needs.
Top organizations also do a better job of taking what their customers say to heart. The study found that top-performing companies take advantage of customer feedback nearly twice as much as lower-performing businesses do. Additionally, high-performance organizations are twice as likely as lower performers to collaborate with customers on custom products, the research found.