In a company you are surrounded by 8 walls…4 walls of a cube and 4 walls of your building. But that’s just a metaphor to reflect the fact that your perspective and paradigm inside a company lacks an operational, ever-present, visible understanding of customers. Your day to day is filled with P&L, initiatives, metrics, administration, logistics, politics, and other topics that don’t reflect the customers’ perspective. You are breathing company systems, processes and policies. Don’t feel bad…that’s how companies operate.
What you need is "customer oxygen". You need to breathe an operational intake of something that reminds you regularly of your customer’s voice, perspective and paradigm.
I’ve always suggested as many people should go to usability studies because it’s an emotional experience to empathize with your customer, albeit not long lasting. But that’s not enough…like a drug it quickly fades. But operational oxygen is part of your day to day. You can’t ignore it. You may have metrics and regular reporting on what customers are saying. You have to react to it. You get email about it. Your superiors care about it and ask about it. That’s when customer centricity really takes hold. When it’s operational and part of your corporate life inside those 8 walls, great things happen.