6 Challenges to Being Customer Centred and How to Overcome Them


When you were sold on the idea of becoming more customer centric, I bet no one told you there would be some serious challenges along the way, did they?
These challenges are birthing pains of a new way that promises to be better than the old. The problem is, you won’t feel like it’s better until you fully implement it in every department—and in the mind of every employee too.
We asked around and listed 6 challenges to customer centric business. Then we set out to resolve those issues in a way that progressed customer centricity even further!

Staff Members Who Reject Change
The first challenge that will present itself in your new endeavour to become more customer centric is that your staff will reject the idea. Staff members like their comfort zones, and it’s likely that the majority of your workforce will feel uncomfortable with the new processes you’ve out in place.

How to Overcome This
Remember that customer centricity is a culture. It starts with top management and works its way down to the ground floor. The key to overcoming fear of change in employees is communication. Keep your staff up to date on all changes and prepare them for how they should conduct themselves with the new processes in place.
Try these if you’re struggling with this issue:

  • Quick group meetings to brief all staff on new changes.
  • Weekly question & answer sessions.
  • Team building exercises where you can build up excitement for future development. Make your staff feel as if they are a part of that success—because they are.
  • Incentive programs that reward employees for adhering to new processes.

A Lack of Feedback from Customers
Customer centric business relies heavily on receiving a steady flow of feedback from your customers. But this is not something you can force. So how do you obtain that feedback without coming across obtrusive or overbearing?

How to Overcome This
It’s all about making it easy for your customers so they don’t see it as effort. If you pick the right medium they may even enjoy it:

  • Your modern age customer is used to working online, so ask for feedback in online reviews or on live chat.
  • Do email or social media surveys and offer incentives to increase interaction.
  • Ask for feedback directly after work is done and provide an easy questionnaire or an app. Then don’t forget to provide feedback on your customers’ input. If they know you listened to them once they’ll be willing to share their insight again in future.

Focusing on Acquisition More than Retention
There seems to be a thin line between keeping customers happy and actively bringing in new ones. This is a problem I’ve always wrestled with. But it’s a problem the customer centric approach to business promises to solve.

How to Overcome This
Split your company’s retention and acquisition efforts by 70% for retention and 30% for acquisition.

  • Because although customer retention is easier to maintain, it’s a much higher priority than acquisition—or at least it should be.
  • Because it’s cheaper to keep old customers happy than it is to advertise, pay sales staff and close deals.
  • Because acquisition is never guaranteed, while retention is.

Losing Focus of Staff Satisfaction
Speaking of thin lines, how are you coping with focusing on customers? Do your staff feel neglected? Has your focus shifted completely away from keeping your staff happy? It’s easy to forget that happy staff equal happy customers.
This is a common challenge to transforming your company to a customer centric one. Staff feel as if they are playing second fiddle to the customer, and end up alienating the very customers you’ve resolved to impress.

How to Overcome This
You may not be approaching customer centricity quite right. The point is to make your staff feel involved in the customer satisfaction process. They should feel driven to please their customers in every step they take. You and your managers should be creating a culture of customer centricity. If you make it important to yourselves, it will become important to your staff too.
So how do you make this happen?

  • Work out an incentive program where staff are rewarded for positive customer dealings
  • Encourage customer feedback that’s specifically directed at staff—such as a rating system
  • Give out monthly awards to field service staff members who wow their clients
  • Ensure that managers are emanating a customer centric approach to how they deal with clients when staff members are watching

Uninvolved Managers
But your managers may not share your customer centric vision—and this can be a challenge too. Managers must be on track with customer centricity, or their entire departments will fall back into their old ways.
Getting all your managers onboard with transformation is no easy task. But it is possible. This part of your customer centric journey is a non-negotiable. Here’s how the experts would advise you to solve this problem if it exists.

How to Overcome This
First prepare yourself for the inevitable: some of your managers will completely reject change, and you may lose them. This is never a good thing, but sometimes it is necessary. Every manager must be willing to play ball, or they have no value to your company.
For those managers who want to stay but aren’t conforming, it’s time for some frontline work. Rotate your managers to work face to face with customers alongside the people under them. Your managers will get a wider perspective on what needs improvement and what their staff deal with every day. Staff morale will also increase when they notice their managers getting their hands dirty every so often.

Customer Centricity Feels Slower
One of the biggest complaints we heard from managers was that their new customer centric approach felt slower. Productivity seemed slower. Staff struggled to adapt. Quotas were not means and productivity suffered as a result.

How to Overcome This
First accept the fact that customer centricity is not slower. It’s been proven to increase revenue and build customer momentum over long periods of time. It will feel this way at first, but once you gain momentum your growth will make up for any teething problems you will have faced.
Give your new processes some time, and allow your staff a grace period where they can comfortably accustomize themselves to changes. If you’ve made a bunch of changes all at once, a transition period is in order. If you’ve only made a few changes, continue to do so while ironing out the issues as you go along.

About the Author:


Povilas V. Dudonis is a serial entrepreneur and likes to dig deep into methods and processes of business operations to find ways to reach maximum performance