If the organization has a calendar year budget, then you are likely starting to think about the plan for next year. When doing so, everything should center around the customer – even expenses that may seem unrelated. Growth goals are easily related to customers because we know we must offer solutions to customer problems, and do so by the most targeted, creative, and efficient means. The disconnect can easily occur when the planned expenses are not tied back to the customer and growth goals.
For example, an organization that rarely has customers visit their headquarters should not focus on having a lavish office space, whereas one that regularly conducts business with customers in their physical office space should. If customers never come to see your office, the investment would be much better spent on things (employees, product/service enhancements, etc.) that help the customer.
A less obvious example of a mistake is when organizations set goals that have a low impact on the customer. These types of goals do not justify the distraction or the cost associated with executing them. Additionally, they clutter the plan and reduce the chance of the organization achieving the highest customer impact initiatives. The highest customer impact initiatives end up having the highest impact on the growth of the organization and the customer, and should therefore be the center of attention.
Some supporting facts about customers:
- They are the reason for every organization’s existence.
- They care about and advocate for the organization only when the organization truly cares about them.
- Taking care of them allows us to take care of the organization and every member of the team.
These simple (and most important facts) provide the justification for placing the customer at the highest level in the hierarchy of strategic planning, budgeting, and goals.