Performance and quality are judged by an organization’s customers. Thus, your organization must take into account all product features and characteristics and all modes of customer access, in addition to support that contributes value to your customers. Such behavior leads to customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, and loyalty; to positive referrals; and ultimately, to business expansion.
Customer-driven excellence has both current and future components: understanding today’s customer desires, as well as anticipating future customer desires and marketplace potential. Value and satisfaction may be influenced by many factors throughout your customers’ overall experience with your organization. These factors include your organization’s customer relationships, which help to build trust, confidence, and loyalty. Customer-driven excellence means much more than reducing defects and errors, merely meeting specifications, or reducing complaints. Nevertheless, these factors contribute to your customers’ view of your organization and thus, also are important parts of customer-driven excellence. In addition, your organization’s success in recovering from defects, service errors, and mistakes is crucial for retaining customers and engaging customers for the long term. A customer-driven organization addresses not only the product and service characteristics that meet basic customer requirements but also those features that differentiate the company from its competitors. Such differentiation may be based on innovative offerings, multiple access mechanisms, rapid response, or special relationships.
Customer-driven excellence is thus a strategic concept. It is directed toward customer retention and loyalty, market share and gain, and growth. It demands constant sensitivity to changing and emerging customer and market requirements and to the factors that drive customer engagement. It demands close attention to the voice of the customer. It demands anticipating changes in the marketplace. It demands a customer-focused culture. Therefore, customer-driven excellence demands organizational agility.
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