Everyone in an agile organization agrees that the customer comes first. But how exactly do you put that into practice? Especially at a time when customers have increasingly higher expectations and demands. And easily switch providers if they are not downright enthusiastic about the company. Discover how you, as an agile leader, can help your people think from the customer’s point of view and balance the customer focus against business and supervisory interests.

In this customer era, customer satisfaction is essential for your organization. Because as soon as the satisfaction score is lower than 4 out of 5, a customer is 80 percent less loyal. And customer satisfaction no longer depends on technical specifications, but on perception: customers want to feel connected to an organization.

As an agile leader, you therefore want to create a culture of extreme customer focus. Making sure that customer focus really has priority over other interests. And that the customer aspect is reflected in all facets of business operations, for example in reporting, meeting agendas and various decisions. Be inspired by practical examples and get tools you can apply in your organization.

Customer focus vs. other (business) interests

A question that often arises within agile organizations is: how does customer focus relate to business interests or the interests of possible regulatory bodies? The answer: ultimately, all these interests are subordinate to customer interest.

Of course, you should not overdo it. Because your organization also needs to make a sufficient profit. Look at it this way: you are working on your customers’ willingness to buy. That means, for example:

  • Being agile: continuously fulfilling the same customer need, but in new ways.
  • Connecting with the customer.
  • Making the customer feel understood.

Meeting requirements of supervisors is also not more important than customer interest. It is a precondition for serving customers as best as possible.

Customer focus and product vision

Doing everything the customer wants is not customer focus. Your own (product) vision is crucial, because without a vision you might go adrift. It is therefore important to connect these two aspects: the vision must clearly articulate what the benefit is for the customer.

Getting started with customer focus

There are several ways to focus more on customers. The 3 most important ones are:

  1. Make essential metrics customer related - The Key Value Indicator (KVI) is a practical tool for this. For example, the Daily Active Users where you read the number of active users of the past few days. Or the 8+ turnover, which allows you to measure the turnover of very satisfied customers.
  2. Always describe objectives, OKRs, user stories and product visions from the customer’s perspective.
  3. Open and end the sprint review meeting with the customer-focused product vision.

Together with your Leadership Team

Customer focus needs to be deeply rooted in your organization. Have you, as an agile leader, noticed that customer focus can be improved? Then it is important to work on this together with your Leadership Team. Re-lead helps you, with a management workshop for you and your team. Please contact us for more information.

Tangible tool: KVI

The Key Value Indicator (KVI) is a tangible tool to improve the customer focus. It's a metric, that indicates the customer benefit or impact that is achieved and how that brings value to the company.

KVI building
Customer focus isn’t about giving products for free, or blindly doing everything what the customer asks you to. Customer focus is the deliberate choice that profit is less important than customer impact and benefits. It’s about having a clear product vision and using customers’ feedback to learn. This gives the company an outward and external focus. Customer focus is about believing that this era requires a totally different way of leading organizations.
Peter Koning smile