The “Ottawa Way” Thrives


A customer-center culture is when one focuses on the satisfaction of clients.  Most of the private enterprises have adopted the culture; however, public sectors are reluctant to instill it to the employees. Ottawa County is among the Michigan counties, which has adopted customer-centric culture to enhance and improve their sustainability and growth. The article, “Ottawa Way” Thrives highlights the determination of Ottawa County to embrace a customer-centered culture and provide quality services to residents, employees, and all visitors geared at improving their businesses (Vanderberg & Capodagli, 2015).  The county of Ottawa is situated in the Southwestern part of Ohio State, where over 272,000 inhabitants enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan and about 7,000 acres of county parks.  Besides, it is a tourist destination and a good place for a holiday vacation with Grand Havens coastal gourd festival and tulip time festival hosted annually. The article is a report about Ottawa County that has implemented the customer-centric approach to serving its customers and the various steps it has taken to ensure the success of the approach. The county has benefited greatly since they adopted the county; for instance, the IT department has increased the amount of proactive communication with other departments.

In an effort to enhance the county welfare, Ottawa County officials opted to adopt a customer-centric approach similar to that of Disney organization. The customer-centric approach of Disney has been recognized as one of the most successful technique to customer-service delivery in the world. The approach has seen Disney organization make tremendous steps in terms of growth and success.  According to Fader (2015), being customer-centered implies placing clients at the center and making decisions that meet customers’ needs.  Customer-centric culture gives the customer the priority, with every action, every process and line of thought starting with the customer. Hence, by learning as well as implementing a customer-focus approach similar to that of Disney Organization, Ottawa County management was optimistic about enhancing customer experience and finally the lives of the population they serve.

Based on the article, the customer-centric culture requires employees training on ways to serve customers, and this would greatly benefit the public office created to help customers. Over 1000 Ottawa county workers, have undergone “Disney way” training (Vanderberg& Capodagli, 2015). The county offices would be using the “Disney way” approach to serving customers. Disney organization has been recognized globally as the most successful organization in offering excellent customer service.  The training also needs a vision that is achievable within a set period.

The resolution to develop a customer-focused culture is vital. The county official will be required within their plot to build value, which will be indicated on their statement.The county officials have to develop, implement and oversee laws and regulations that will ensure better outcome service to people. The developed ethical codes would ultimately eliminate bad habits and practices that might have been prevalent within the county employees.  The article states that by developing customer service vision, story, as well as behavior codes, the county has succeeded working with employees to develop a quite different and better expectation. Developing a code of conduct will guide the county employees on the set of behaviors expected from them and this enhance customer experience.

Customer-centric culture stresses extensively on feedback and achieve this through storyboards provision (Vanderberg& Capodagli, 2015).  In public sector, the opinion of citizens is of great importance. Hence, the boards help the government know areas they are underperforming without having to carry out surveys.  The storyboard process is a perfect method for management to gain anonymous feedback as well as engage all the team.  The boards reduces the cost associated with conducting public polls and allows problems to be discussed immediately they emerge and not later on.  Therefore, the leadership has been shifted to center of issues.

The hot seat challenge within the “Disney way” approach has fostered development in leadership skills. It has help leaders to understand even without emergency; they have to develop set of skills to operate as if there was an emergency.  The “hot seat” challenge helped create open and trusting communication between the leaders and employees (Vanderberg& Capodagli, 2015).

Communication normally created engagement and effective communication will ensure that all members of an organization are aware of the strategic plans, its significance andthe way the plan will affect them. Strategic plans rely on the activities of nearly all employees in the organization and not only the planning team. The points highlighted in the articles are all about improving communication within the county and ensuring everything done revolves around the customer. For instance, the storyboards increased the number of feedback, and this can be instrumental to the planning team.

In conclusion, the customer-centric approach focuses on the satisfaction of customers to promote growth and generate profit. The customer-centered culture has been adopted across companies, and now Ottawa County being among the first county in the United States to adopt the technique. The method has facilitated the county growth. The customer-centric approach has helped staff improve their leadership skills as county leaders are compelled to work under pressure.  Besides, it has helped the county to develop better methods of collecting feedback, and this has saved the county the expense associated conducting surveys. With more focus on customer-centric concept, the county can improve on its practices and services.




Fader, P. (2015). Customer Centricity: Focus on the right customers for strategic advantage. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton Digital Press.

Vanderberg, A., & Capodagli, B. (2015). The “Ottawa way” thrives. Public Management, 97(6), 14-18.

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