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How OKRs create customer-centric behavior

OKRs (Objectives & Key Result) include leading results and lagging impacts. The shift to focus on how every ones job creates valuable impact can stipulate a customer mindset in the entire company.

We described in one of our latest blogs for OKR Asia, (our OKR sub-brand) how elevating Customer & Employee Experience are often 2 out of 5 company objectives - The most common & impacting OKRs , but in this article we would like to focus on how achievements for the customer can be at the heart of the OKRs and everybody is striving to satisfy clients.


Customer-centric Mission & Vision (North Star)

To be able to build OKRs measuring customer success, the mission, vision and values of a company need to be customer-centric. In our client companies in pharma or retail business, customer satisfaction and customer engagement are the top priorities and to serve the customer is everybody responsibility in the company. As we highlighted in our previous blog - Branding vs. Reality, how do customer see it? these companies do not focus only on market share, profit and branding but motivate and enable the entire organization to work their best to satisfy customers in a short and long run.

Serving a happy customer
Customer Service

To achieve this, it is important that everyone in the company no matter if front- or back-office or support teams knows their role, impact and leverage to influence a great customer experience and gets a clear message from management that these customer-centric values are at the core of the organization.

Customer value driven Strategy

Value mapping is a great technique to develop the strategy and roadmap for a company based on the value we want to create for markets and customer. It connects the current product and services with future ones and explains why is it important for the organization and the customer to go into a certain direction. It further helps to define on a strategic level value based results (e.g. satisfaction levels, repeat customer rations, etc.) which should been achieve in the long run and enables OKRs to break down how each department, team or cross-functional working group can contribute to this value.

Customer Centric Value Mapping
Customer Centric Value Mapping

As in the graph above, linking the value map to customer profiles or personas makes the achievements relatable to certain customer groups and therefore can motivate the teams. It is important that any customer success data is than shared with the teams as we can see for the OKR set-up and measurement in next chapter.

Cross-functional OKRs with lagging indicators

Once we identified company OKRs which are measure the work result of the teams (leading indicator) as the impact on the customer or market (lagging indicator) we can connect every team result with customer values.

E.g. if we want to increase our market share in a certain online segment within Q1, an IT & Product team is probably programming the right functions and it measured on quality and delivery. First this delivery has to come way before the end of Q1 as our KR is not to have certain functions ready but to truly increase the market share. Second the IT & Product team should also monitor lagging KRs on how the new functionalities are perceived by clients (e.g. survey benchmarks) and if they have the desired impact on the market share.

Therefore we advocate to build cross-functional agile teams or squads which can be responsible for the end to end journey of the customer and the development of features. A mixed team of Product, IT, Marketing & OPS could ensure that certain features are build and tested based on customer feedback and make sure that the customer perception and the ongoing impact on the business results are also measured (lagging / external or impact KRs)

This is very powerful as it connects each team to customer related key results and makes the entire team responsible for the client and market impact rather than just finishing their work and handing it over to upstream departments like Marketing, Sales & Operations (or even worse customer service)

For more information how to foster a customer-centric culture with OKRs and how to measure customer related results to make teams accountable for customer success, please contact us here or on

This blog was written by Carsten Ley, Entrepreneur, Enabler & Project Lead in Employee Experience, Project & Business Transformation leading large scale project implementations in Banking, Consulting, Project & Experience Management for companies like Deloitte Germany, VW Mexico, Rolls-Royce UK and Lazada Vietnam. He founded 2018 Asia PMO, a consulting firm focussing on getting clients fast and efficient into implementation of company objectives, customer & employee experience improvements to foster a result- and team-oriented environment.


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