It’s no secret that in today’s digital landscape organisations can’t afford to lose sight of their customers’ goals. We’re constantly being reminded to put the customer first.
As customers are increasingly seeing companies and brands as a means to an end, brand loyalty is diminishing. This phenomenon is something we call the Customer 4.0 revolution – a world that’s led by customers who are increasingly outcome-driven. Organisations need to be able to quickly pivot to their empowered customer’s evolving demands.
In our recent report, The Evolution of the Agile Organisation, we surveyed 500 leaders from some of the largest organisations across a range of sectors. For each organisation we analysed 15 agile characteristics across five dimensions and found a strong positive correlation between agile characteristics and financial performance.
We found that businesses with the highest levels of financial performance are more likely to be customer-centric by co-creating processes with customers, listening and empathising with them, and continuously re-prioritising. We call this group our Agile Cohort.
So, what can these leading agile organisations teach us about the importance of becoming customer-led?
Did you know the top 10% of financial performers are 30% more agile than the rest?
Bring customers into the innovation process
For the Agile Cohort, it starts with co-creation. The process of co-creation helps organisations to understand, in detail, why people are looking for certain things and the external factors that may be influencing those decisions. This can inform the entire product or service design process.
We found 46 per cent of leaders encourage customers to play an active co-creation role in the innovation and service improvement process. Of the other companies surveyed, 34 per cent agreed.
Co-creation goes beyond traditional market research tools like surveys and questionnaires. In today’s hyperconnected world, it can be as simple as connecting and testing new product or service ideas with customers through social media channels. At the other end of the spectrum, some organisations are choosing to run day-long workshops with customers to get in-depth feedback in-person, allowing them to unearth what their customers really want.
Develop a technology-enabled approach to customer feedback
The connections you form with your customers is an ongoing process. Over half of the Agile Cohort always seek regular feedback from their customers before and after launching a new product or service. They do this through fostering a listening culture. This isn’t just about finding out what customers want, but also about meeting their unmet needs. For example, the Agile Cohort interpret behavioural data to understand if their efforts are impacting customers as intended and leading to the desired outcomes.
We estimate most companies are only analysing five per cent of their data. Agile organisations leave no stone unturned. Through uncovering insights in unexplored data – what we call Dark Data – you can drive better decisions for your organisation. We believe a technology-enabled approach to customer feedback will move from being an agile differentiator to an essential condition for success.
Use data to prioritise according to customer goals
It doesn’t stop there. Once they have customer feedback, the Agile Cohort constantly look for ways to prioritise against it, and quickly.
Our research showed this group demonstrated a unique ability to continuously re-prioritise products and services based on data analysis of changing customer goals and demands
Doing so at pace is what sets the Cohort apart. Today, business leaders believe they need to operate 30 per cent faster to remain competitive. With a growing emphasis on quicker cycles of data-rich experimentation and analysis and adaption, the organisations with the ability to shift gears without losing momentum are the ones that will succeed.