Pioneer large-scale customer-centricity (Global)

Level of quality service, satisfaction, customer loyalty concept

Pioneer large-scale customer-centricity (Global)

This Netherlands-based organization has a long history of innovation in consumer electronics, healthcare, lighting and personal care. But, the board understood this wouldn’t be enough. It embraced a multi-year strategy that would put customers at the heart of the business and make NPS the key non-financial metric for the company.

This would be a dramatic operational and mindset shift for any KPI-driven, engineering-led business, but with over 100,000 employees worldwide, the task was mammoth. Our associate’s brief from the CMO was pretty much all-encompassing: to encourage and enable the senior leadership in each of the company’s business units to adapt their mindset, processes and behaviours in line with customer focus and specifically the Net Promoter™ customer feedback measurement system the CMO had just introduced.

Consultants who stick with it

Customer-centricity is not rocket science. But change on this scale – with this number of employees, from so many cultures, across so many independently managed business units, with such a level of devotion to the old product-focus – this would be no ‘in and out’ project. For the next two years we committed five Futurelab consultants to the client. The addition of six client-side members gave us the right pool of talent and experience to form a solid taskforce. We roll up our sleeves alongside our clients in three tracks:

Track 1: Inspire and enable people to drive change

Our associates designed a 2-day workshop that was delivered in over 40 business divisions and country units, challenging each management team to:

  • Demonstrate the business case for customer-centricity with NPS™ results as supporting evidence
  • Look at NPS customer feedback to understand customer-centricity in both the practical and emotional sense
  • Help each unit/region self-define what acting on Net Promoter feedback might mean for them
    Draw up a phased action plan that would help them move away from product-focus and consistently act on the customer voice.
  • This lead to hundreds of streams of activity, sharing ideas and learning across the business. Futurelab developed a toolbox of templates and methodologies that will speed up and streamline the development of customer-centric processes in any global organization.

Track 2: Get people who already get it

Our second major track was to advise the global Head of Customer Experience on the development of a customer centric movement in the business. For this, we developed an approach in which the company identified people who were already naturally doing things in a customer-focused way, however quietly, however small scale. It then went on to a) support and encourage them b) expand their programmes and c) to promote their stories as case studies via internal communications channels. Our experience in change management – and with our fellow humans in general – has taught us that people are more likely to hop on a moving bus if they see colleagues waving from the top deck. Growing this ‘army’ of customer champions would be an ongoing track of activity throughout the project.

Track 3: IT as the great enabler

Finally, our associates were given an operational challenge: to structurally align marketing and IT around the customer. Along with customer service, marketing has the most customer contact and significant impact on satisfaction. If for example, customer service operatives had to access a full view of the customer’s purchase or contact history in order to solve a query or recommend a product, IT would need to enable that. We conducted interviews with close to 80 stakeholders to develop a join vision of what IT should and could deliver. Deliverable: a CRM vision for the company as well as a framework which allowed IT and marketing teams to jointly develop a roadmap for IT-enabled customer-centricity.

Result: Customer-centricity is now part of this client’s corporate DNA. Net Promoter is fully embedded across the business and the company is regularly cited as a landmark case for performance measurement by customer satisfaction. Our associates have made a significant contribution to this pioneering project by:

  • Creating an understanding of NPS and the principles of customer-centricity
  • Transforming the mindset of a leadership team previously devoted to product-led business
  • Building a framework to align the company’s CRM and IT systems around the customer.

If you need to steer your company in a radically different direction, please get in touch with us.


  • Alain Thys
  • Richard Percival
  • Stefan Kolle