What is customer focus?
Customer focus is the lens you need to understand the customer experience you deliver. A customer focus mindset affects your organisation’s UX leadership, skills, performance measurement and strategy. A high level of customer focus directly correlates to great UX.
This also means that the same information about customer behaviour can be understood and acted upon by two organisations in completely different ways. One way being wildly, commercially successful and one leading to critical failure. The outcome is all down to their level of customer focus.
Most organisations aspire to have the highest level of customer focus possible. It sounds appealing —“the customer is at the forefront of all our thinking and decisions”— and the commercial benefits of customer focus are numerous (because of the commercial benefits of great UX). Customer focus and the resulting UX and CX improvements lead to KPI improvements and sustainable competitive advantage.
But what does it look like in practice? How do you elevate your organisation from your current level of customer focus to a new level of excellence? To aid our clients in this conversation, we’ve developed a Customer Focus Canvas.
It’s a tool that prompts meaningful discussions that lead to customer focus improvements. We’ve shared it for free in this article in the hopes it can add to more fruitful conversations with your teams or your clients.
The Customer Focus Canvas
Before we show the canvas, let’s look at a diagram of ideal customer focus. It has three stages: assessment, application and execution (we introduced this diagram in our Achieving Customer Focus white paper).
First you take all the strands of assessment, and consider them through a customer focus lens (i.e. the needs of the customer front and centre). The output of this assessment informs your customer-centric strategy, and that strategy focuses employees on the end goal. The strategy can then be coordinated and executed at scale, even an exponential scale, by leaning on customer-centric thinking and robust UX capability.
How then do you take your company forward so it’s operating as smoothly as this diagram portrays? What are the prompting questions that lead to fruitful internal discussions and meaningful improvements to your customer focus?
Below is the Customer Focus Canvas that we use to achieve that. Click to view full size.
If we could pick one word to represent this canvas’s value, it would be “catalyst.” The canvas’ questions are a catalyst for identifying Customer Focus gaps and, hopefully with good guidance, developing a practical plan to address those gaps.
The Customer Focus Canvas can deliver dramatically different outcomes. After asking the canvas questions internally, you may decide your organisation needs to improve its UX capability —its raw level of UX business and design mindset and skill—so that delivering great UX becomes more seamless and effortless. We use our Experience Assessment service to help people achieve that UX capability shift.
Alternatively, you may simply identify additional activities you wish to carry out. This could be establishing an innovation work stream that explores ground-breaking, new UX concepts outside of Business As Usual (BAU). It could mean creating journey diagrams so all internal teams work to the same, shared understanding of your customers’ online interactions.
We would love to hear your about your experiences using this canvas. Do these questions generate interesting internal discussions? Are there improvements you’d suggest?
If you need assistance taking the canvas questions through with your teams, to discuss your situation and get our team’s guidance.