Customer-Obsessed Leaders Do These Five Things: Do You?

Five years into the age of the customer and it's clear that we're just getting started. More technology is coming — Amazon Echo, anyone? — and that doesn't even begin to touch on the stuff that will hit closer to 2020 and beyond: virtual reality, augmented reality, self-driving cars, and robot assistants.

I'm pleased to introduce my latest report: "Leadership in the Age of the Customer." This project is the result of months of work to update our view of the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which power is shifting from businesses and institutions to end consumers. Technology, information, and connectivity are combining to instill in people a belief that they can have what they want, when, where, and how they want it. 

The key to emerging triumphant through all of this will be customer obsession. Organizations that put the customer at the center of their process, policies, and practices will successfully develop and deliver the experiences that hyperadoptive customers are ready to embrace. That will mean changing the operating model of the organization to be more customer-obsessed. It will also require that executives consciously lead the organization to customer obsession.

As I recently shared from the stage (see the video) at Forrester's Marketing Leadership Forum in New York, customer-obsessed leadership is not just general leadership. Customer-obsessed leaders do five things well, motivating their teams, their divisions, and their companies to embrace the customer more fully. 

Do you do these five things? At our event, I asked our audience to take a self-assessment; 75 of them did (see the figure below). Rating themselves on a five-point scale, it's clear that our executive audience is most confident in their ability to model customer obsession in their practices and decisions. Good for them.

But after that, the numbers fall precipitously, down to just 15% of executives at our event believing that they provide the resources the company needs to better serve customers. In a world where you get what you pay for, you also don't get what you don't pay for.

This is an important — even essential — conversation, and one we want you to join. We're hosting a complimentary Forrester online event, a live interview hosted by our own CMO, Victor Milligan. Victor will interview myself and two other Forrester thinkers: Michelle Moorehead, who leads our CMO practice, and Sam Stern, who leads our work on company culture change. The conversation will be dynamic, and you won't want to miss it. Join us by clicking on the banner below or registering here (and share this with colleagues and friends, of course).

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