Creating an Organization around Customers

A while ago I wondered what would happen to an organization whose CEO really understood its line of market offerings.  Then I asked what the ramifications would be if a CEO was able — and willing — to blog.  Now I think the biggest and best question is: what if your CEO were willing to create an org chart with the customer somewhere on the page?

What sparked this question was this interesting thought from Vincent Grimaldi I found while reading Interbrand’s 2004 User’s Choice Awards (top brand of the year?  Apple):

…conventional organization charts contribute to reinforcing the wrong
behaviors, as they show the CEO at the top and the receptionist at the
bottom. Notice that the customer is not part of this picture… When the
customer calls on the phone, it is the receptionist who picks up, not
the CEO. Who is the most important person in that scenario?

So, what would happen if you mapped out your own organization from a customer’s point of view?  You could start by asking these four simple questions:

  • What is the user experience of our organization like today?
  • What should the user experience actually be like?
  • Who in our org actually delivers that experience?
  • How can we better allocate resources to help those key brand representatives? 

Everything should be fair game in this exercise: from how customer support calls are handled, how incoming resumes are sorted and evaluated, how content gets created for the company blog (you do have one, don’t you?), how the FedEx guy gets treated each day, to how the corporate website is structured.  The results of this exercise should help your organization really "get" how to create wonderful
end-to-end customer experiences by becoming more aware of the human aspects of the brand impression your company makes in the world.

In essence, it’s about making your org chart a catalyst for fractal brand thinking.  At every point from the janitorial staff on down to The Office of the CEO.