Want to be user centric? You are what you spend.

Paul Boag

Almost all organisations claim to be user centric or customer focused. But when you look at where they spend their money, things do not add up.

“Your call is important to us. We value your patronage. Customer service is at the heart of what we do. Our customers are our passion.”

We have all heard platitudes like this and few of us believe them. Instead we feel more like cash cows, feeding the coffers of multi-national corporations.

But here is the rub. There is a good chance you have said similar things about your customers. Of course unlike those other companies you mean it. It’s not a platitude when you say it. Or is it? Can you claim to be customer centric or are you playing lip service to it?

One way to tell what an organisation cares about is to follow the money. What is your company spending their money on?

Follow the money

How much did you spend on attracting new customers compared to improving the experience of those you have? Advertising is about acquisition, not retention. It is about squeezing more money from people, not providing a service.

What about the customer relationship management system you bought? Is that configured for up selling and cross selling or is it designed to provide a streamlined experience?

What about the money you have spent on better understanding your customers (you have spent some haven’t you)? Have you spent that money on finding out what they like and dislike so you can target them better? Or have you researched the questions they have? Their experience of interacting with your organisation? Have you researched their frustrations and how to address them?

Who do you hire?

Finally and most importantly, who do you hire? Do you hire an advertising agency or a user experience agency? Are you paying somebody to create an impressive brand identity? Or are you investing in improving the customer experience?

What about your own in-house staff? How big is your marketing department compared to your customer experience team? Do you even have a customer experience team?

What about your digital team?

Let’s bring it right down to your digital staff? Who makes up your digital team? Designers, developers, content people? What about a user researcher?

Do you have somebody working to better understand the user and fix pain points in your digital offering? Do you have somebody mapping the customer journey, monitoring analytics, gathering user feedback? Do you have somebody running regular usability testing and multi-variate testing?

You get the website (or other digital tools) that you pay for. If you have a team of techies, you will get a site that’s performance is outstanding. If you have a team of designers you will get a thing of beauty. If you have a team of content writers, you will get a lot of in-depth content.

This is why as I help organisations setup in-house teams, I almost always include a full time user researcher. This is why when a client asks us to build their website we always include a significant amount of user research.

That is when you find out what organisations really want. Do they want to be customer focused or is it just lip service?

Maybe it’s time to print out this post and pass it to your boss? Maybe it’s time to call your organisations bluff and ask them to put their money where their mouth is.