Customer : Empathy : Ideate : Innovate

Every time we start a project, we want to think that we’re innovating with our customers in mind. Of course, we also need to keep the perspective of our company, the stakeholders, ROI and how to improve internal processes. Eventually, it becomes the ROI and internal processes that rule the day.

The gap between “thinking about our customers” versus real  “Customer-Centric Innovation” becomes wider than the Grand Canyon. It’s the difference between being an Inside-Out organization, and one that’s Outside-In.

Customer-Centric Innovation is different.

It’s a different way to look at your products, services and offerings. It means that you start each project, not by considering your organizational needs, but the needs of your customers. It’s even different than that, because it not just about customer’s needs – it’s about improving their lives.

It begins with your customer.

You must know your customers on a very personal level. You need to recognize what makes them sad, happy, angry, excited, impartial, engaged. You need to appreciate what is happening in their daily lives.

Its core is empathy.

It’s not empathy if it doesn’t pull on your heartstrings. You must feel the burden your customers are experiencing if you wish to improve their lives. Stories need to sweep you off your feet and bring tears to your eyes. Only then will you and others be empowered and have a sense of urgency to correct what’s wrong.

It must be ingrained in your culture.

You can’t be the only player in this game. Your entire organization, from the CEO to the mailroom, are indispensable to this program. It’s essential that this “mindset and heart” is integrally infused, not strapped or bolted on.

Customer : Empathy : Ideate : Innovate

Learn how to influence your company’s culture and innovate on behalf of your customers, while growing your business and profitability, at the upcoming 4-day Customer Experience Certificate Program at Rutgers University. The 8 hands-on, interactive immersion sessions will prepare you for leading your organization to the next level. Learn more at Need help with your Customer Experience Effort? Contact Carol Buehrens at