Today’s C-level executives must take leadership lessons from the customer-service managers of the past, states Forrester analyst James L. McQuivey.
McQuivey notes leaders who will succeed in the ‘age of the customer’ are those who measure customer obsession, recognise and reward customer-focused behaviours, remove obstacles to customer obsession and provide the resources for these programmes.
“Setting high standards, making those standards visible, and holding organisations responsible for meeting those standards will turn the CEOs words into action,” states McQuivey in the Forrester report Leadership in The Age of The Customer.
How the CEOs behave in public, for instance, is critical.
“Nothing beats back the perception of bigwig CEOs being out of touch with the other 99 per cent like seeing them fly coach on their own company’s airplanes, using their bank’s own ATMs, or buying their own brands’ products at the grocery store.”
Over time, customer-obsessed leadership will become just leadership.
In particular, he cites Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky who rents out his room as an Airbnb host, and stays in places listed on the accommodation website.
As well, he notes the shift in the views around the necessary qualifications for these executives. “Gone are the days of executives flaunting their Six Sigma certification,” he reports. Rising executives talk about taking courses on design thinking, or “customer journey mapping”.
“The leaders who succeed in the age of the customer will understand that these rising trends are tools that support the biggest trend of all — the shift to customer obsession,” states McQuivey.
Over time, he concludes, “Customer-obsessed leadership will become just leadership, meaning that customer obsession will permeate all aspects of leadership in the same way that digital marketing has suffused marketing.”
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