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Focus on the Customer in 2021
Episode 22228th December 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
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What is the purpose of your business? Is it to make money as many people believe? I took finance during my MBA program and finance says your goal is to generate shareholder value. That doesn’t sound like a great rallying cry for employees. “We have to focus on increasing our shareholder value in 2021.” Yeah, no. How about you find better ways to focus on the customer in 2021?

Can you use that to engage and energize employees? I bet so, and if you make improvements in that area, I bet your revenue will increase.

1. Review your True North

Hopefully, your True North focuses upon the customer. If not, give it a review. Here is LinkedIn’s- “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”. Nike’s is to “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world*”. The asterisk says if you have a body you are an athlete.

Take the time with your leadership team to review your True North and make sure it makes sense.

2. Instill it in the company culture

Now that you have a relevant customer supporting True North, how do you ensure your company walks the walk? Maybe you had outside help in developing your True North and hired a firm to make a nice graphic, posters, etc.

Now the heavy lifting begins. Instilling your True North into the company culture. Every employee has to understand their role in supporting the customer. Supporting the customer has to show up in their employee review language and employee plans.

Begin every meeting reviewing the True North until everyone has heard it 2,000 times and then you have a good start. Ensure your actions and the actions of those you lead to support the True North and the customer.

3. Map the Customer Journey

Now that your enterprise culture change is beginning, map the customer journey from the time they click on the website or pick up the phone until the product or service is delivered to their door. Where are there multiple points of contact required of the customer? What are your response times in your call center? What are your first call resolution statistics?

Use items like value stream mapping and customer journey mapping to “see” where you can make improvements. Make sure these events are cross-functional and have input from employees in every area of the business. Ensure that your IT group is part of the mapping as well, so they can understand there is a difference between pretty and functional. Or high-tech and meeting the needs of the customer.

4. Develop your 2021 improvement plan

As a leadership team, develop your improvement plan. Where do you need to focus on improving the customer experience first? Second, etc.? Deploy the resources required to make the improvements.

Establish the correct metrics to measure your performance. Survey your customers. Then survey them again. Consider using the Net Promoter Score to compare yourself to others in your industry.

Ensure the improvement plan is moving forward as planned. Discuss it in leadership meetings. Make sure leaders involve employees across the business. This helps you cement your True North and drive employee engagement.

If you follow these steps and focus on the customer in 2021, you will have an incredible year!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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