6 Barriers to Customer Centricity
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This is an edited excerpt from Customer-Centric Project Management (SPOTO and Phil Peplow, Gower/Routledge 2012).
It would be wonderful if project-based organizations or PMOs saw the opportunity to improve stakeholder communication and stakeholder engagement by demonstrating customer focus (not sure what that means in the context project management). Learn more about customer-centric project management here.
There are likely to be concerns about doing things differently that will hinder a customer-centric approach to being implemented.
Six barriers have been identified that prevent customers from fully adopting a customer-centric approach. These are:
Type of organization
Let’s take a look at each one individually.
Sometimes, more sceptical and hardheaded business leaders have said that they don’t have the time to attend a monthly customer satisfaction meeting.
This is no problem, conference calls can be used to solve problems. In a matter of minutes, issues can be discussed, prioritized, and customer satisfaction scores determined. If necessary, you can also gather their feedback via email.
Once the customer has seen the benefits of the process, and there have been successes, they will request face-to-face meetings.
Leaders are often hesitant to discuss what could be considered a poor-performing business unit. This is the process of gathering customer satisfaction scores. These scores are related to how well the project manager or team is delivering comments about the level of project management maturity within the organization.
Fear of it not being as good as you hoped can make it difficult to implement this feedback loop. Honesty is key to the success of this process. Having access to data from multiple projects will allow you to run a health review on each project.
Remember that if you don’t know how customers view their projects, project managers, and their supporting PMO organizations, are unable to take corrective actions before the situation becomes untenable for the customer.
Transparency can also manifest in cultural issues. Project customers or team members from cultures that value harmony over transparency might find it difficult to share their honest thoughts during this process.
This is one way to tell if a project manager consistently scores high in customer satisfaction. This can be dangerous as project customers and their needs vary from one project to the next.
A project manager who consistently scores above average could be one of the best performers in the company and is often assigned the most challenging projects and stakeholders. This will be reflected on the scores.
Project managers will soon see that scores can vary due to outside factors and may be worried that this will reflect poorly on them. They might be reluctant to introduce a customer satisfaction program even though they support customer centricity.
The PMO can assure project managers that scores won’t be used to rank them. This is a way to deal with this issue. You must then follow through on this – don’t hide the ranking of assessment data.
Always consider the context in which the scores were received. This will make it difficult for project managers to carry out satisfaction reviews. This is a huge violation of the spirit.