Customer centricity and the COO

Core operations deliver the customer experience.

Customer expectations demand that every business function be customer-centric—including operations. COOs today need to have visibility into the ever-changing needs of the customer and the ability to measure the right metrics that drive success in meeting those needs. As such, many organizations are changing COOs’ responsibilities from an exclusively operational role to one that enables the organization to meet its customers’ expectations.

This paper shares practical insight on:

  • enabling the COO and CIO to work together
  • putting customer-centric operations into practice
  • aligning operations to the customer experience.
Customer centricity and the COO
The chief operating officer's insights can help lead the way.

Core operations deliver the customer experience

The most successful companies today aren’t selling a product; they’re delivering a customer experience that aligns to changing expectations.

"Customer-centric organizations are 38% more likely to report greater profitability than their competitors."

Source: Harvey Nash KPMG CIO Survey 2018

Companies can only deliver on their promised customer experience if their operations are geared to enable it. Put another way, the customer experience is closely tied to how a product is made, shipped, acquired by the consumer, and how easily it can be returned, serviced, or supported. So, engineering can design a great product; marketing can execute a flawless campaign. But it’s the core operations—manufacturing, procurement, supply chain, order processing, and shipping—that deliver on the experience.

Creating customer-centric operations involves the rethinking of fundamental business functions.

Companies can use social media, data & analytics, and other new technologies to uncover and understand their customers’ desires. Then, they can use that information to redesign their operations to better meet those needs, building in agility and flexibility to be able to quickly respond to changing market trends.


Steps to take now

COOs can start by taking these following steps to begin to transform their company’s operations to help the business attract, engage, and interact with customers and ultimately drive growth and create value.


Deliver a clear view

Develop a clear view of “where to play” strategically in the power ecosystem, “how to play” commercially, and “how to win” competitively (as it relates to your growth strategy).

Create a convincing roadmap

Create a convincing roadmap for becoming a truly customer-driven organization, enabling the organization to deliver the customer expectations across both digital and physical touchpoints. 

Let go of the complexity

Let go of the complexity of today’s products and siloed organizational structure, turning the focus to making services simple and fast, personal, and truly value-adding for customers.

Understand customer types

Understand and design for different customer types and invest in the tools and data capability to use this knowledge to create a more personalized relationship.

Find the right balance

Find the right balance between continual improvements that is needed in the core business and the customer innovation needed to develop new service offerings.



Today’s customers are better informed, better connected and more demanding than ever before. Customer experience is overtaking price and product as the number-one brand differentiator.

KPMG combines expertise in strategy and implementation – as well as far-reaching industry and functional knowledge – to create better customer outcomes that produce better business returns. That means looking beyond the front office to a wholesale transformation of functions such as marketing, sales, and service – and linking them to the middle and back office.

The resulting organization is closer to customers and can deliver interactions that are seamless, responsive, relevant and consistent, helping companies build greater loyalty and share of wallet.

KPMG can help your organization evolve into a connected enterprise that meets the demands of today’s informed, connected consumers.

We know how your business works and we know how to get things done. Our global network of talented professionals combine technical expertise with practical business experience in consumer-facing industries, helping your organization address each capability across the connected enterprise – down to the detail – in the right context for your business functions.