Exploring Client Centricity
Client-centricity” (or “client-focus”) is an approach to business based on putting the client/customer at the center of an organization’s philosophy, strategy, and operations. This exercise promotes collaborative exploration and reflection around an organization’s approach to its clients. Participants discuss and share positive experiences they have had as clients, and use this to define their approach to “client-centricity” as a group. They discuss different groups of clients based on needs, and explore how successfully the organization has met those needs in the past. The exercise ends with a prioritization of areas for improvement.
Start the session by explaining its purpose: “to explore and reflect on client-centricity in our organization, and become more client-centric.”
Introduce this basic definition of client-centricity as a broad frame for the workshop. Explain that client-centricity can have many definitions and this is only one broad formulation: “Client-centricity” (or ‘client-focus’) is an approach to business based on putting the client/customer at the center of an organization’s philosophy, strategy, and operations.”
Check-in by asking participants to say what they would like to contribute and get out of the workshop.
This session can also be used for working with different stakeholders: e.g., Partner-centricity, Staff-centricity, Customer-centricity.
In order to support participants to think empathically, ask them to recall an excellent experience they had as a client. Why was it so good? What were the factors that led to their satisfaction? Stand around a whiteboard/flipchart in a horseshoe. Ask each of the participants to briefly explain their experience while you write down key factors/words/principles that emerge. This should take about 15 minutes.
While still standing around the whiteboard/flipchart, give the participants the challenge of “defining client-centricity” for their organisation, in one sentence.
Put them in groups of 3-4. Give them 10 minutes. Ask each group to write their definition in clear letters on one A4 piece of paper.
When time is up, bring the groups back and ask them to put their definitions up on the wall. Briefly read out each definition. Invite the group to identify common words and phrases and highlight them as they are pointed out. Explain that these statements represent a shared working definition for this group (even if there are some differences between them.)
Now that they have defined their approach, ask the participants to think about who their clients are. Ask them to take post-it notes and a pen, sit as individuals, and think about the reasons why clients buy their products and services, using the formulation: “Help me…” For example:
- “Help me build stronger teams in my organisation”
- “Help me better understand how technology is changing my industry”
- “Help me apply more creative working methods”
When the time is up or everyone has finished, ask them to stick their phrases to the flipchart/ whiteboard/wall, one person at a time. They should group similar reasons together as they are putting them up. You may also need some extra time for grouping once they are all up. In total, this should take about 10 minutes.
Split the group into teams of 3-4. Each team should take one of the post-it groupings. These groupings represent specific types of clients. On a whiteboard/flipchart/projector put up the following categories of client-centric behavior (see reference below):
- We listen to client feedback based on their experience with us
- We design customized products and services around their needs
- We track the quality of their experience and see this metric as more important than – money
- We train staff in client-facing roles to have excellent interpersonal skills
- We enhance continually the service that we provide, responding to changing needs
- We invest in growing relationships rather than chasing new accounts
Teams discuss their client in terms of these categories. When have we succeeded in doing this? When have we failed? Ask them to write down each of the examples on a flipchart or large post-its.
Give them 30-40 minutes to do this, but be prepared to adjust according to the group’s needs.
Give the teams 5 minutes to prepare a short presentation of their key learnings to the wider group. After the presentations the group as a whole should discuss the key areas for improvement that have emerged from the session. Either you or the group should write up and prioritize these areas.