What does a customer centric L&D department look like?

I found myself asking myself this last week, and yet customer oriented is surely what any L&D team would a) strive for and b) claim to be.  Our team fits this category - striving for, and feeling that we are customer oriented, and yet I find myself wondering if we are missing something. (Customers in our context do not mean 'internal customers' but are defined as users and direct influencers on our products).

Customer centricity is perhaps currently one of the two of the most used phrases in our organisation , and as you'd expect and hope, L&D is close to the heart of this change programme.  There is no criticism of our approach or offering, but to be change agents I'd like to be sure we are able to model a 'customer centric L&D team/approach'.  We certainly have plenty room for improvement.

 

With a couple of new team members recently, I'm organising a team day to team build, craft the vision and address this question.

Does this raise any thoughts, comments with anyone?  I'd be interested in hearing experiences and advice.  Anyone been there and bought the T-Shirt?! (and was it worth it?)

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Simon,

 

It’s great to hear that you want your team to focus on the customers – and rightly so.  There are just so many things out there that I could point you towards but I’m going to choose just three.  The reason for this is that you mentioned “users” and “products” in your post and this has provided my direction.

 

I’d recommend you read “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Collins and Porras.  This book gives a clear indication as to what (in the long term) makes a company successful.  There will be a number of pertinent items for you in here, especially connected to values, vision and mission.

 

I’d also recommend you read “The Loyalty Effect” by Fredrick Reichheld which gives numerous examples of how companies have built loyalty amongst their customers.  Building loyalty comes from doing the right thing on a consistent basis.  There are some excellent stories within this book which I’m sure will be of help to you.

 

And finally I’d going to suggest that you check out the PZB SERVQUAL model.  Just Google the term as shown and explore the results.  This model is exceptionally well tried and tested and delivers real results with Service Quality – something you’ll need to be customer centric.  I’ve used it myself in company turnarounds, for software companies and for L&D departments.  I’ve also got presentations on the subject that I’d be willing to share – just contact me for details.

 

I hope the above is of use.  Please give me a shout if I can help further.

 

Jonathan.

Thanks for this Jonathan, this is a helpful start and I'll be checking out your references in the first instance

 

Simon

Hi Simon,

 

For me customer centricity is about relationships, rather than doing everything they want.  It's about moving from an order taker (thanks Nigel Harrison) to partner, where you are seen as a trusted advisor.  Speak to Nigel (he's on this network) about help he may be able to give.

 

Hope that helps in some way.

 

AJ

 

Thanks for your thoughts and comment Andy.  I'm familiar with Nigel's thoughts on this, we've had a few interactions.  I'm of the same frame of mnind - in fact I've used performance consulting thinking as a basis for our assessment centres for L&D managers.

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