Building Your Team Around the Customer

Published: 5th November, 2019

The Customer at the heart of what you do

It’s a great aspiration of businesses to say they are but actually what is being done at a practical level to make it so. I know how complex organisations can be with all their relationship challenges and I also know that good things don’t happen by magic. It’s all about putting in place the practical elements, in the form of an environment and the people, process and systems to increase the chances of success. Test, Measure and Learn your way through this often talked about but less frequently implemented aspiration of putting the Customer at the heart of what you do. Once achieved then building your team around that and not just by adding bodies but introducing them into a culture where everything that is said and done is with the Customer in mind.

Unlocking the hierarchy

A top-down hierarchy view of the business is the traditional time-honored approach for command and controlling the inner workings of a business- and I get that. Playing the numbers game it’s the lowest common denominator when it comes to getting the message out there. The list of needs it satisifies is not in question here, organisation, performance, compliance and the like, but what it does not do so well is serve to understand and develop the end-to-end Customer experience. In order to do that we require a reframing of the way we think about, and so share an understanding, of the way we go about our business.

One example are the boundaries between teams, business areas or departments. The tube map of London prioritises the tidy lines of the track to focus on journey planning, as does a canal waterways which leaves out the reality of the bends to help long boaters see the locks and the watering holes along the way. To put the Customer at the centre of everything we do we must follow a similar approach and using Big Picture this means focusing on the left to right yellow Customer journey which shoots like a spear through the heart of the business- in a healthy way! A different perspective is required and it’s through the experiencing and engagement of the teams themselves that will land this reframing in the business.

Once reset a whole new landscape is laid out which requires some definition before the benefits can be fully enjoyed. A layer of definition that we encourage is stepping out along the Customer journey to understand exactly how it plays out putting ourselves in the shoes of those we seek to provide value to. For one attendee on the webinar the challenge was to think clearly who that was. Rather than shy away from this as a question we suggest using this as a conversation topic in the team to develop a shared focus. Depending how much time you have each of the identified touchpoints can be explored with regard to the needs, wants and moods of the Customer at this point. Understanding this in turn helps shape the offering that the teams can provide through the Technology and Processes that they deploy.

With the central focus in place we can then get to the ‘growing the team’ in and around that. Big Picture helps by providing the key elements of the business in the form of a small number of symbols in a physical form that helps turn the conversation into a making and doing experience. As a result the teams develops their own ideas and in doing so identifies the Challenges and Opportunities they may encounter to be better at what they do. We are specialists in facilitating these kind of conversations which become particularly lively when engaging with multiple teams across the business. This is often an emotional and exciting way to seek to improve the business so be ready to enjoy the ride!

A Practical Demonstration

On this recent webinar, I worked through a start, middle and end for growing your talent:

  • Unpacking the hierarchical structure of the org chart and laying out the Customer Journey across the page. Sat shoulder to shoulder with colleagues this reframes the conversation;
  • Focusing on the different stages of the Customer experience where not all touchpoints are equal. Understand the different needs, wants and moods of the Customer to build the team around; and
  • Starting with the Team working out from your understanding of the Customer to piece together the relationships then adding in Measures, Technology and Processes to build the team.

Watch the full Webinar here!

You can watch the whole Webcast here. Sign up for the next one at

Here’s what one of the attendees fed back:

“The recognition schemes have to be authentic and there’s something in schemes that often ripple the bad feelings rather than the good. The right people need recognition for the good work they have done” – Richard, October 2019

Why the bother?

When the team start talking, they have a chance to share what they really think, and so:

– They are more likely to be productive in their time with the company.

– The business will enjoy a ready supply of new opportunities each and every time you get to the truth- the challenge is working out what to do with them all! Boss Bill gets the most of her team and is able to translate that up to the board.

– Employees are likely to stay with the company for longer and that means avoiding the costs of rehiring- worse case 6-9 months of an the employee’s salary to locate and train a replacement and 2 years to become fully productive. Not to mention the toll on existing employee productivity and morale.

What we can help you with

Big Picture naturally generates extremely high engagement levels as you provide your people with the tools they require to share useful truths about the business. With light-touch delivery it means you can involve large group sizes, of up-to 20, with no drop off in engagement levels. This results in the highest Engagement levels we have ever seen for People and Business Development.

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The stuff we care about is all over our YouTube channel @YourBigPic. You can have a go yourself by printing and writing on the one-pager here for a business YOU care about. I would love to take you through a taster of Big Picture in a Discovery Webinar you can sign-up for here.

And thanks for reading!