Firms everywhere are struggling to translate a ‘customer first’ vision into an actionable customer obsessed strategy. Local firms are no exception. As the marketing director for an Australian manufacturer told us: “Translating the rhetoric of ‘customer-first’ into meaningful action and overcoming legacy attitudes remains hugely challenging.”

In a recent report, which Forrester clients can access here, we applied Forrester’s Customer Obsession Assessment (COA) to 45 organizations based in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and compared these firms’ customer obsession maturity to firms in the rest of the world. Marketing and other Digital Business Strategy leaders can apply the lessons learned to their own efforts to become customer-obsessed.

Where should you begin? Start by addressing the most consistent challenges ANZ firms face:

• Create a disciplined, customer led-culture. Most ANZ firms have pockets of customer-obsessed employees but struggle to embrace processes that amplify and augment their good work and scale it across the organization. Overcome this challenge by identifying internal champions at the executive level while also encouraging contributions and soliciting insight from customer-facing staff, such as account managers.

• Ensure that tech investments pay off. Leverage software development resources to create differentiated CX. Start by embracing Agile processes and design thinking – both critical to leveraging technology quickly enough to stay in front of customer demands.

• Secure executive buy-in. A local financial services firm hired a CCO whose primary role wasn’t to change the culture across thousands of employees; it was to change the conversation among senior decision makers, so they would in turn instill the culture and processes that could drive change throughout the firm.

Overcome the above challenges to meet the expectations of empowered customers. But to become truly customer obsessed, embrace metrics. Not just operational metrics, but outcome and perception metrics as well. To do this effectively you must:

• Encourage the use of customer metrics internally. Start by deciding on a top-line customer metric that the whole organization can rally around. Then turn this into action by identifying opportunities to more effectively and consistently measure key interactions along your customers’ journeys. A local bank’s strategy is to identify and access the data needed to trace individual customers through both their physical and digital interactions with the bank.

• Measure outcomes and perceptions. Less mature firms in ANZ don’t effectively measure key interactions along their customers’ journeys and lack the cultural imperative to use metrics daily. ANZ companies can learn from US federal government agencies that are successfully connecting CX success to mission success and coordinating across the organization on the right metrics to track.

Want to hear more? Join me for a complimentary Forrester webinar on Wednesday, December 6 at 11am AEST, where I’ll share additional insights to help you jump-start your journey to customer obsession.