Customer-centricity Begins with Creating a Culture of Change by briansolis


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									Customer-centricity Begins with Creating a
Culture of Change
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed book on social business Engage!

Customer-centricity or getting closer to customers is often the focus of many executive meetings I
attend these days. The question always arises, “how can we use new media to get closer to

The answer is not, develop a social media strategy to start engaging with customers. The answer is,
change. Any organization that focuses on operations, margins, and efficiencies over customer
experiences will find itself unfavored by tomorrow’s connected customer. It’s difficult to see the
customer or empathize with them if you’re focused on a spreadsheet. It’s impossible to change if you
can’t see what it is they value.

Social media is as rewarding as it is complex. For businesses seeking to engage customers in the
social web, lucidity is the key to relevance. However, social media is not static nor is it constant in
any one state. It’s part of the new media revolution and it’s driving the new information economy.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Its importance lies in maturation and the stages we experience as we experiment and learn. As we
dive deeper into understanding its potential, we uncover new opportunities to create not only a social
business, but an adaptive business. Social media’s true promise lies in its ability to reveal human
behavior, emotions, and experiences to inspire brand empathy. While we talk of humanizing our
brand and our business or becoming a more consumer-facing brand, the reality is that we are merely
at the beginning of an important shift in business philosophy. Customer-centricity begins with internal
transformation and the willingness to adapt or create processes and programs that break down
internal silos. It’s not just about communicating with customers; it’s about showing them that listening
translates into action within the organization to create better products and services and also foster
valuable brand experiences and ultimately relationships with customers. It’s also about empowering
employees to improve those experiences and relationships in the front line and to recognize and
reward their ability to contribute to a new era of customer engagement and collaboration. They have
to care, not just because they’re human, but because it’s part of the corporate culture…and a
recognized contribution at that.

Innovation and collaboration is an outside-in and an inside-out process. It is living. The activity we
tap into in networks inhabited by connected customers forces a groundswell that inspires top-down
transformation from the bottom-up.

It’s time to take new media to the next critical phase, the need to understand the needs of the market
and deliver against them. The adaptive business will plug into the human seismograph to listen,
innovate, and co-create. To do so, engagement, customer recognition and empowerment and
investment in empathy become the pillars for an external mission. Creating a culture of change for
employees, customers, and partners and equally investing in movement of adaptation, innovation,
and co-creation become the pillars for internal transformation. This is just the beginning of how we
create a more customer-centric organization and how new media plays a role in engagement and
learning to foster change and relevance.

The future of business isn’t created, it’s co-created.

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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for
businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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