Customer Focused Companies vs Operations Focused Companies

As the name suggests, customer focused companies completely focus on customer service. Such companies know how to hire employees for the same purpose, train them properly and deliver on the promises.

On the other hand, there are also some companies which claim to focus on customer service, but their primary concern is operations. Their policies and rules allow for little flexibility, and prevent them from offering higher satisfaction rate.

Customer Focused Companies vs Operations Focused Companies

There are some key differences between customer focused companies and operations focused companies. In this post, we’ve discussed six differences between such companies.

Empowerment – A customer focused company aims to empower its employees to make decisions for the benefit of its customers. Such a company takes a unique approach that if some task isn’t immoral, illegal and won’t cost a substantial amount of money or harm the company’s reputation, consider performing this task to take care of customers.

On the other hand, an operations focused company requires a supervisor’s approval for almost everything outside company policies or standard approach of conducting business. This leads to a lower customer satisfaction rate.

Hiring – Customer focused business houses hire people who always fit the culture. In simple terms, such companies hire people who have the core values and personalities which align with the company’s mission and vision. Although some jobs require special skills and talents, these capabilities alone don’t get the candidate hired.

An operations focused company only hires employees according to their skills and talents. They consider technical strengths to fill a position. Such a company may not focus on the candidate’s personality and core values.

Training – A customer focused company spends a lot of money and time training for some soft skills like customer service and relationship building. The company understands that it takes both soft skills and technical skills to provide exceptional customer service.

An operations focused company spends a major part of the money and time on product knowledge and technical skills. Such a company focuses more on the operations, manufacturing processes and other such aspects of the business.


When it comes to leadership, leaders in a customer focused company set the mission and vision of the culture, and try to lead by example. However, leaders in an operations focused company set the mission and vision of the corporate culture, but sometimes prefer authority over leading by example. At times, their behavior may even be incongruent with what the company wants to achieve. This may leave employees less motivated and confused.

People First

Customer focused companies understand the importance of putting customers first, and even employees. These companies develop a culture of engaged, fulfilled and happy employees who deliver a much better customer experience. Customers value such attitude and continue coming back.

On the other hand, operations focused companies develop a culture specifically focused on procedures and systems. While this is quite important for a business organization’s success, these companies don’t primarily focus on customers and employees.

Last but not the least, operations focused companies consider customer service to be just another department in the organization. On the other hand, customer focused businesses consider customer service to be a philosophy which needs to be embraced by everyone in the organization.

Key Aspects of Ensuring Your Company is Customer Focused

A better understand of the differences between customer focused and operations focused companies can help you provide better services to customers, and generate more revenue. Besides the above mentioned differences, you also need to focus on other distinguished characteristics within your organization to ensure your company is customer focused.

Can Managers Describe Customer Promise

In a customer focused company, managers are able to accurately describe customer promise. CEOs in operations focused companies assume this aspect is obvious, and therefore, it has been communicated to the company’s employees via publications, internal communications, road shows and videos.

However, customer focused companies consider middle managers to be key people who can appropriately describe customer promise. If middle managers are aware of the stance your company takes on such issues, you can be assured that you’re running a customer oriented business.

Do Senior Members Know What Undermines Customer Trust

In a customer focused company, the senior management always understands certain criteria which can undermine customer trust in the organization.

On the other hand, operations focused companies don’t focus on this aspect, and believe that just providing good products to customers is sufficient to win their trust. Customer focused companies also give importance to other aspects, including customer service, user interface, shipping experience and more.

Is The Company The Best Option For Customers

Customer focused companies always give importance to feedback and research. While operations focused companies only consider market research regarding only the product, customer oriented companies conduct searches to gather more information about competitors, customer preferences, certain drawbacks and more. This gives a competitive edge to customer oriented companies as they are able to rectify errors and make specific modifications to enhance the overall customer experience.

Without any substantial data, operations focused companies believe they are the best for customers. On the other hand, customer focused companies back their claims by substantial data and feedback. They make sure they completely understand the target market, and focus on particular interests of the customers to provide them with high quality services at affordable prices.

Do You Keep The Lower Level Staff Involved

The lower level staff members are the ones who’re directly in touch with the customers. Customer focused businesses understand this aspect of operating a business, and keep them involved in various stages of product development and research. Their insight helps the management know what customers want, and what might offend them.

On the other hand, operations focused companies don’t value the opinion of their lower level staff members, and stick to research data about the product while designing and developing anything. Such a company sticks to policies and rules without giving much thought to what the customer ‘really’ wants.

In tough, competitive times, business organizations are realizing the importance and significance of customer oriented business operations. In order to achieve success, it is very important to understand customer needs while designing a product. Thus, customer focused companies are becoming a necessity rather than just an approach.


Matthew is the Lead Author & Editor of CXperience Blog. Matthew established the CXperience blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Customer Experience.