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Towards a Customer Centricity Maturity Model

Spring 2015

Last Month I joined Marketsoft's @joelrnicholson, along with a small gathering of the industry's most influential, for the inaugural #customercentricity Advisory Lunch.

What followed was a wide ranging discourse that covered everything from Manifestos to Thought Leaders to Success Stories.

What peaked my interest was the idea of a #customercentricity maturity model. Did the roadmap exist? And if so, how robust and adaptable was the model approach to achieving #customercentricity?

So I went in search of the definitive model.

My Googling revealed two distinct approaches to the challenge.

The most popular approach appears to be a repurposing of the old school Customer-Brand Relationship Model. Or, how we transition the customer from prospect to champion.

But it does raise the question: Are we choosing to adopt the right metric if we simply think brand awareness translates into customer centricity?

The answer of course is no. Brand Awareness and Customer Centricity are two different metrics. Arguably brand awareness is a foundation for Customer Centricity. But the same can be said for Product Leadership and Operational Efficiency.

The other variant in popular use focuses on the mapping of the customer experience. The journey towards becoming, if not the product champion, at the very least a paying customer.

This approach represents progress - the evolution of the relationship, at least as a process flow - but does it map operational maturity? Arguably not.

So what should a Customer Centricity Maturity Model look like?

Let's begin by going back to the origins of Customer Centricity. Treacy and Weirsema's Value Drivers.

"Customer intimacy means segmenting and targeting markets precisely and then tailoring offerings to match exactly the demands of those niches. Companies that excel in customer intimacy combine detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility so they can respond quickly to almost any need, from customizing a product to fulfilling special requests" - "Customer intimacy and other value disciplines" HBR 1993

For Treacy and Weirsema customer intimacy, or what we describe today as customer centricity, was all about focusing your collective organisational energies on the customer. Prioritizing the needs ocustomer above product engineering and operational efficiency.

The question then becomes one of how do you map that? How do you measure relationship maturity over, say, brand awareness or customer satisfaction?

I started out by mapping Joel's draft manifesto as the foundation layer for exploring a maturity model.

Then narrowed it down to a "boston box" of frequency verses agility. Or, alternatively, intelligence vs agility.

In the end I settled on the simple idea of mapping the maturity and agility of the customer journey against the maturity and agility of the enterpise intelligence that supports the just in time delivery of that journey.

For many this is probably more akin to a Gartner "Magic Cube" than an Operational Maturity Model but think of it as a conversation piece rather than a definitive answer to the question: Just what does Customer Centricity Maturity look like?

Other posts in this series:
Will 2015 be the year Brands discover social isn't about influence but about intimacy?
Show me the Money! Reflections on the Great Customer-Centricity Debate
Here's why Customer (Techno)Centricity is for every Brand

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