Forrester believes that the only source of competitive advantage in the next decade will be customer obsession.
A customer-obsessed company focuses its strategy, energy, and budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.
It's no longer sufficient to be simply customer-centric or customer-focused.
To succeed, companies must become customer-obsessed and that is not just a matter of dealing with the tactical touch points of the web, contact center, or salesperson, but an integrated approach, which crosses all of the relevant stakeholders.
IT doesn't own customer satisfaction but must support it
According to a recent survey of Forrester’s global CIO panel, few CIOs owned primary responsibility for customer satisfaction policies, strategies, delivery, or metrics.
High-level planning and most of the accountability for the delivery and metrics remain within marketing, sales, and dedicated customer service departments, whilst IT remains disconnected from customer satisfaction (see figure 1 below).
In order to become more customer-obsessed, IT must contribute to investments in all customer-facing technology, not just internal tools.
Budget authority for technology-based customer-centric systems, such as the customer-facing website, digital marketing, and the call center, remain with marketing or other departments.
IT has budget authority for enabling tools such as business intelligence and business process management (BPM) in half or more of the organizations.
Budget authority for other tools that can be used to enhance customer understanding and to manage the business processes at the point of customer interaction remains outside of IT.
Not surprisingly, IT's largest area of influence is in the operations of technology platforms.
When we drop down to the operational level, IT's responsibility for customer experience platforms and processes ticks up to a significant level across the different areas.
However, operational responsibility without clear ties to the desired outcome — or the business cases to justify spending — can and will lead to suboptimal spending and performance.
Use capability maps to move from an inward focus to an outward view
An important approach to integrated planning involves creating a business capability map for the organization.
Business capabilities define what an organization does to execute its mission or support its position in the marketplace and they are the key building blocks of the organization.