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“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

IMF, Public Scandals and The Root Cause of Non Customer Centric Organizations.

Posted: Jun 20, 2011 by Lacey Stephen

Watching the IMF former leader scandal unfold followed by other public figures succumbing to undispicable behavior, I was amazed. What were they thinking? Many leadership gurus have responded to this question. Pages were filled with theories about the stress and loneliness of the leader at the top of the pyramid and their need to escape. The truth however lies in a simple truth: ego.

Reaching a position and power transform ambitious leaders into proud and sometimes over confident people. They start believing their own success and assume that they are invincible. The regular rules do not apply to them. Their success and power granted them a free pass to be above the law. They trust their success to a point where they ignore simple truths.
So why am I writing about it in a section dedicated to customer experience and customer centric organizations? Because this is the same root cause that transform companies who started on a path to delight customers and ends with arrogance towards the same customers. The ego of success blinds leaders and organizations to the simple truths. Somehow they believe that the rules of customer centricity no longer apply to them.

Often when I am asked to point a finger to the number one issue holding organizations from becoming customer centric, my choice is clear. It is not lack of voice of customer program (we have plenty of it, we simply do not listen). It is not lack of sophisticated CRM and analytics tools (It can help, but many customer centric companies succeeded without them). It is not even the absence of customer centric measurements (Do you really need a measure to see if your customer is smiling? Look at her) It is a simple root cause: arrogance. For many companies success breeds arrogance.

The cure does not start with a strategy. It is looking at the mirror.
Admitting that success corrupted the organization’s sensitivity to the customer, is the first step to cure the arrogance. Accepting that the company made decisions that took customers for granted, is critical to start the path to customer centricity.

My advice to all is before you examine the customer journey, examine the leadership journey to arrogance. Wherever you find success and growth, you will find the roots of ignoring customers. It is this journey that needs to be addressed first.