Customer Centric versus Customer Driven

Which business model sounds better: customer centric or customer driven?  They sound similar but one can lead to greatness; the other, failure.

Customer centric organizations are externally focused. They know what their clients need, they understand their clients’ challenges, and they seek to provide value. Customer centric organizations are keenly aware of their key differentiators because they think in terms of client value first.

Customer driven organizations are typically those in which a small number of clients represent a disproportionately large percentage of overall revenue. When the client makes demands, the serving organization mobilizes — often without first thinking it through.  When large clients are unhappy, the customer driven company sounds the alarm and creates activity.

If you’re still scratching your head on this one, consider this. In the customer centric organization there are no knee-jerk responses to market challenges and client demands. They are taken very seriously, weighed carefully, discussed…  But they are not allowed to disrupt the business as a whole. There are no emergency executive meetings, no pulling out of hair, no recriminations.

The customer centric business fosters curiosity.

Can we improve delivery?
What would that look like?
Are there increased costs?
How does this align with our vision or long-term business plan? 

Once a solution is found, the customer centric business executes swiftly. So which business model would you prefer? Are there other considerations or other business models to recommend? Feel free to leave a comment below.


3 Replies to “Customer Centric versus Customer Driven”

  1. I am so familiar with customer driven mindset of a company. I could see so clearly the problems with this type of focus and every suggestion I made if it wasn’t with this mindset, it was rejected. I am so glad to not be part of the customer driven mindset anymore. Good article Susan.


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