3 ways to create a culture that fights the customers’ corner

11:FS Customer Strategy and Research Team
4min read

Customer-centricity is a phrase that’s been used and abused over the last decade. But what does it mean in practice and how can Jobs to be Done make it happen?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

This famous Peter Drucker quote 👆 perfectly summarises why companies succeed. This is a motto that’s been proven true over the decades, and executives in financial services are increasingly focused on creating a “customer centric” culture.

While Drucker gave executives the 'why' to culture, it left them to devise the 'how'.

Executives intuitively understand that creating products customers love is good for business, but how can they practically create a culture that promotes this?

1. Empower people who know your customers best and give them a voice


Ask your executives “when was the last time you spoke with a customer, and what did they say?”

Many will say they haven’t, and that’s okay.

The point is not to berate or humiliate them, but to help them realise that they are many degrees away from the end customer, and that there are others in the organisation who can help them close that gap and create services that help customers meaningfully improve their lives.

“There’s an amazing amount of pockets within big organisations that truly understand who their customers are, and they’re usually people who are well and truly on the front line - these are people in the call centre, in the branches, who day in day out deal with the realities of what customers have problems with and are actually trying to do.

It just happens that most of the people who make decisions around digital banking investments have probably never talked to a consumer. The leap of faith - the billion they decide to invest - is usually based on a sample size of one; them,” explains David M. Brear.

Executives who are humble, empathetic and understand that continuously delighting customers is the best way to increase the long-term value of the company will see the value of empowering these teams.

2. Make customer empathy the responsibility of everyone across the organisation

Fighting the customer’s corner should not be just one team’s responsibility.

It is not enough to create a customer research unit where customer insight is delivered in and disconnected from the product development cycle. Customers should not be reduced to an input variable to a product - they should be the foundation of the business.

Because of the work that we did with 11:FS in the beginning, we’ve really stuck true to the Jobs to be Done framework.

Justin Geaney, Chief Product Officer, Virtual Bank by Standard Chartered

“We do our customer testing with the whole squad involved - people from tech, finance, risk, operations, and product. By having people across the team sit through these sessions, it means that customer understanding moves across the team. It is not a “product function” to teach the organisation what Jobs to be Done is and what customers want - it’s everyone joining in on the research approach and everyone seeing the output and everyone having a voice in terms of challenging it. Culturally, that makes it a lot easier for us to do what we are trying to do” says Justin.

3. Hire talented people and give them the freedom to do things differently

Legacy ways of working can often be at odds with building a customer-centric culture.

Large organisations have an incredible ability to hire extremely talented people, but the legacy process often curbs their ability to drive change.

I think most organisations know how to hire. The problem is more of the mindset

Peter Collinridge, Global Head of Entrepreneurs, Citi Ventures

According to Peter Collinridge, “If you’ve got engineers and product people who are used to executing a roadmap and a stream of tickets, that is very different to saying 'you’ve got to triple this metric in the next week', so it’s the mindset which I think is the most challenging thing.”

Executives who can appreciate this difference and are willing to invest in a new way of working are the ones who will succeed. They will accelerate the company towards a consumer-centric culture, and build a loyal team of change makers who can unleash their talent, feel fulfilled, and attract other top talent to join the organisation.


For more information on how Jobs to be Done can be used to create a successful new venture, check out our guide to designing something customers will love.

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