Research demonstrates clearly that the vast majority of companies are underperforming when it comes to managing their customer relationships. But most of this research has always been structured primarily to measure the shortcomings of companies' efforts, rather than probing for the reasons.
At a client's location the other day, we had an "ah ha!" moment when we realized that this client - just like many other companies we know - is suffering from a kind of blindness when it comes to visualizing their business in any way other than as a series of independent transactions with customers.
We're calling it "transaction myopia," and we think this is the biggest single affliction preventing most executive teams from fully embracing a truly customer-centric point of view for their companies.
What we mean is that it's far easier to think in terms of transactions completed - whether you talk about products sold, or calls handled, or loyalty points awarded - than it is to think in terms of asset values improved (i.e., lifetime values increased on account of strengthened relationships).
Obviously, having better transactional data will help any firm do a better job in making customer-centric decisions, but even sophisticated statistical analysis will not necessarily change the mindset - the basic worldview - of the executives involved.
But this was just our brainstorm, married to a clever term. We may not be right here. What's really needed is even better research into the reasons why more firms don't - or perhaps can't - adopt a more customer-centric point of view.