We put our own reality upfront
Emphasis is on meeting customer’s requirements
We are ethical
We know best what is good for the customer
There is always scope for improvement
Customer is king even if it doesn’t make “sense”
If you want to learn more about this dimension please click on one of the areas being indicated separately in the diagram above. It is also possible to click on the following combination of two areas:
In an internally driven culture, employees perceive their task towards the outside world as totally given, based on the idea that business ethics and honesty matter the most and they know best what is good for the customer and the world at large. An internally driven culture can also be based on the monopolistic power of a provider, implying that a provider doesn’t need to care about its customers.
In a very externally driven culture the only emphasis is on meeting the customer’s requirements; results are most important and a pragmatic rather than an ethical attitude prevails.
Dimension D2 is distinguishable from dimension D1 because, in this case, it is not impersonal results that are at stake, but the degree of satisfaction of the customer, client or commissioning party.
The actual culture is the culture as it is now. Whereas the optimal culture is the culture as one would like it to be, in order to realize one’s objectives in the best possible way. We measure the actual culture on-line by asking respondents to answer 76 questions. This is done in such a way that respondents will give as little as possible socially desirable answers.
In the case of measuring labour satisfaction one wants to know how respondents feel about their work situation. In the case of culture one wants to describe objective reality in comparative terms as adequately as possible, therefore trying to avoid socially desirable answers.
We make a distinction between actual culture, i.e. the culture as it is now, and optimal culture, i.e. the culture, which, if put in place, will enable the realisation of your objectives in the best possible way.
In all instances in which management has decided that the culture has to be changed, the question should be - to which degree? If management does not indicate to which degree, e.g., “we have to become more customer focused”, the danger is that, if change is realised successfully, the culture becomes too customer focused, see area D. This can only be properly solved if the actual culture is measured properly and if the optimal culture has been defined fairly precisely.
The title of this dimension, “Customer orientation”, is actually not all that precise. In reality this dimensions describes the degree of focus on its external stakeholders. As there are different external stakeholders, the first question is - which group of stakeholders are most important to you? Are they “clients” or “shareholders”? If the culture is very short-term directed, see dimension D4, shareholders may get priority. In most cases it may be best in the long-term interests of shareholders, if clients take priority. Reality, however, tells us that companies which are quoted at the stock market are confronted with the short-term interests of share holders.
Customer orientation versus customer satisfaction: The customer orientation and customer satisfaction don’t need to coincide. This is especially true when management of a company emphasises pleasing other stakeholders than its customers. The degree of customer satisfaction or, better called in this case, stakeholders orientation can be measured by us. The degree of customer satisfaction is measured by marketers.
Customer orientation, which can also be called “customer focus”, is sometimes confused with customer friendliness. If customers expect to be treated in a friendly way, then, these two concepts merge together and are covered by this dimension. It is also possible that customers don’t necessarily want to be treated in a friendly way, but in a correct and fair way. In such cases, the two concepts don’t merge.
In the Netherlands it was decided many years ago that the police should become more customer friendly (klantvriendelijk). The problem with this drive to become more customer friendly was, and still is, twofold:
In the Western world there is probably no other country where police officers and their families are so often threatened outside work hours as in the Netherlands. A consequence of this drive to become more customer friendly made them lose a lot of respect.