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Corporate Follow-Up

By on August 16, 2013

I always want to know the back story of feel-good customer service stories.

Recently, a young traveler, with no money, was fed for free by the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Chicago-O’Hare Airport. It’s a great story.

But I wanted to know how the executives of the organization handled the situation after it happened. I wrote to the Contact Us portal on the Wolfgang Puck website. Here is the response that I received from Lesley within a few minutes of my online request:

Customer 3D Book

By on April 30, 2013


By on April 30, 2013

Progress Happens

By on April 30, 2013

Whats Next

By on April 30, 2013

Be an Original

By on April 30, 2013

The WE Approach

By on April 30, 2013

Customer-Centered Small Teams

By on February 6, 2013

I love it when institutions in traditionally stodgy industries transform themselves into juggernauts of innovation by being human-centered. The Center for Innovation (CFI) at the Mayo Clinic is one really successful example. It started with a small team.

The CFI began by applying an accepted model—testing new drugs in clinical trials—and asking why the same tests could not be done on doctor-patient interactions.

Rebuttal: Customer Service is the New Marketing

By on January 18, 2013

In December, a panel of speakers on customer service topics discussed “Is Customer Service the New Marketing?”. The panel makes the case for marketing how well an organization serves its customers. This is not new. It’s the traditional ideas being warmed over. The panel’s message to organizations is, essentially, don’t change your approach to customer service; simply market it better.

First Responders

By on November 26, 2012

How can first responders, such as Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers be more customer-centered? Beyond Lucid Technologies has developed the MediView™ Platform to make emergency healthcare and other first response services more efficient. Winner of the 2012 DC to VC award presented by Health 2.0, Beyond Lucid thought like a customer to develop a software […]

Adaptability for Customers

By on November 14, 2012

What it means to work with customers is inevitably evolving. It’s crazy to believe that the culture which a company had twenty years ago could connect with customers today. It must be adaptive.

Thinking Forward

By on October 24, 2012

Steve Jobs once described the difference between TV and the Web as Lean Back vs. Sit Forward media. Today,we have created a world in which access to everything is more direct—news, information searches, etc. From the standpoint of effort we have to put into it, we expect tomorrow's product or process to be easier and more intuitive for us. In this new world order, a Sit Forward organization must have a different metabolism to keep its customers involved.

Question Everything

By on October 10, 2012

Customer 3D organizations are re-visiting all of their traditional ways of doing business from the customers’ viewpoint – before customers question it themselves. It’s long overdue.

Inside Information

By on September 26, 2012

Thinking like a customer, when it is engrained in a culture, creates freedom – the willingness to point out shortfalls in current company processes and the passion to identify new opportunities that will make their company easier to work with.

When is Self-Service Customer-Centered?

By on September 12, 2012

Our perceptions of self-service are changing. However, self-service must be customer-centered. Companies must ask themselves whether the change saves customer effort, making the process more convenient & more straightforward.

Big Picture or Small Picture?

By on September 5, 2012

Big picture thinking provides organizations with the best experience that the “picture” is changing over time. The behaviors of employees (executives and others) have a tremendously better probability of staying ahead of those changes by centering their actions and decisions on the biggest picture of all: customers.

First or Second?

By on August 22, 2012

Which phrase is correct—customers or employees first? When employees know that they can act on behalf of the customer, they are happy and are driven to develop creative ideas that customer will value. The customer comes first, but employees follow along naturally when they have the freedom to do the right thing for those customers.

Go Against the Flow

By on August 15, 2012

The mindset of many futurists, unfortunately, relies on the tendency to see the future as simply a variation on the present. Today, while most product-centered companies are focused on the limited, “predictable” ways of working for their customers, another movement is emerging — Customer 3D™.

Improv for Customers

By on August 8, 2012

The lessons of improv comedy for businesses are to allow freedom to explore new areas that will make the connection with customers (or the audience). Instead of being restricted by what you perceive as rules, be open to where your customers want you to go. Be natural, but with a sense of play. Enjoy the freedom to say “yes…and” if the results are better for the customer.

Forging the Future

By on August 6, 2012

Fraunhofer’s website clearly states their motivation: Research that benefits people—that “has a significant impact on people’s lives.” They have developed many products, methods and techniques in the following sectors: Health, Nutrition and Environment Safety and Security; Information and Communication; Transportation and Mobility; Energy and Living; Environmentally friendly production. Here is one example: Before:  Research has […]

Changing Times

By on August 1, 2012

Customer 3D™ is delivering a more customer-centered alternative, in contrast to those organizations who still insist on thinking about customer service as they did years ago. In the 1960's, Bob Dylan wrote and sang, “Your old road is Rapidly agin' (The Times They are A-Changing)” but the message is still true. The future will belong to businesses that are more creative and empathetic than what we have accepted as good enough until now.


By on July 25, 2012

Most writers and speakers about customer service are focused on simply describing it, rather than paying attention to how to create the leadership characteristics that they want companies to develop. Their work seems to manifest itself mostly in generalizations and to imply that those generalizations will always work for your organization. Beware of what seem to be shortcuts.

Making a Difference

By on July 18, 2012

Customer-centered businesses are empowering their employees to make a difference while they are at work, not just after they leave. If we want to make the world a better place, part of that effort happens when we can create really great new ideas for our customers — ideas that make people more productive.

Let’s See How You Post-it

By on July 12, 2012

  In 1974, Art Fry was wondering how to keep the bookmarks in place in his hymnal when he remembered the adhesive Dr. Spencer Silver made. After making a few samples and distributing them to his colleagues, Fry found his sticky bookmarks being used as notes, and everyone wanted more samples.   Benefit to the […]

The Customer 3D™ Premium

By on July 11, 2012

All of us are well aware that basic knowledge is getting more basic, because it is more easily accessible. Google and other high-performance search engines have proven that. Customer 3D™ organizations are factoring this trend into the design of their services in order to creatively grow their businesses. It’s happening at two ends of the […]

Quarter-Inch Holes (vs. Quarter-Inch Drill Bits)

By on July 11, 2012

Professor Theodore (Ted) Levitt deserves the first entry in the Thinking-Like-a-Customer Ideas—Classic version. In The Marketing Imagination, 1983, Levitt asserted that people don’t buy things but, instead, buy solutions to problems. He called it a “leap from the obvious to the meaningful.” One of his memorable examples referred to Leo McGinneva’s quote about why people […]

Re-Defining Customer Service

By on June 18, 2012

The definition of great customer service is changing…for the better. The Customer 3D™ approach is taking suppliers’ expectations to a new dimension for their customers. What used to be acceptable in the product-centered world is being expanded by a new, customer-centered mentality.

The Design of Business

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Roger L. Martin

Rules of Thumb

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Alan M. Webber


By on June 11, 2012

Author: Nancy Duarte

Practical Wisdom

By on June 11, 2012

Authors: Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe

Design is How it Works

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Jay Greene

Change By Design

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Tim Brown

A Simpler Way

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Margaret J. Wheatley
Contributor: Myron Kellner-Rogers

(Re)(Organize) for Resilience

By on June 11, 2012

Author: Ranjay Gulati

Genuine Customer-Centricity

By on June 11, 2012

Read this White Paper.

Do You Hate Waiting on Hold?

By on June 7, 2012

So did the co-founders of FastCustomer.com! Now, instead of spending precious minutes listening to pre-recorded messages or “waiting on hold,” download the FastCustomer App or visit them online,.

Smart Speed Bumps

By on June 7, 2012

Decano Industries in Toluca, Mexico, is developing a “smart” speed bump. This speed bump measures the speed of the car driving over it and collapses if the car is going the appropriate speed.

Fashionably Safe

By on June 7, 2012

Hövding is a bicycle helmet cleverly disguised as a scarf. Instead of having to wear the classic helmet to protect your skull from injury

Beyond Lagniappes

By on May 30, 2012

Lagniappes are fine, but we can't stop there. Customer 3D organizations operate in a different dimension: one in which unexpected thank-you’s are a given. These organizations are treating their customers as equals and proactively designing new services that anticipate customer needs in addition to token gifts.

What Needs Changed?

By on May 9, 2012

Customer 3D is a new way of thinking and working for customers worldwide. It is a new dimension of performance for customers that only a few exceptional organizations have figured out. It shows the elements that other organizations can use to operate in this new dimension with more humanity. It is a model that is proactive. It is a strategy in which the first priority is customer success.

Becoming Customer-Centered

By on May 2, 2012

Jackson Pollock said “Every good painter paints what he is.” Customer-centering happens because an organization sees the customer as its purpose and it feels empowered to "paint" that into every action it takes.

Relevance for Customers

By on April 11, 2012

Organizations that become the “go-to” companies for information and expertise that their customers value are superseding the transaction-based model of customer connections by creating a network effect that is now far more important. That is the space which future customer loyalty will occupy.

Customer 3D Creates ‘Us’ Thinking

By on April 4, 2012

Instead of a customer-as-the-boss mindset, Customer 3D organizations partner with their customers. Bosses are limiting. Collaborating on an equal basis is unlimited.

Customer 3D and Disappearing Problems

By on March 21, 2012

Customer 3D solves problems, but not in the ways you might expect. Becoming customer-centered weaves a single worldview through the fabric of the organization. It's amazing how many other internal issues get resolved when the customer is your first priority.

Press Release 03-15-2012

By on March 14, 2012

Read this Press Release.

A 3D Look Into the Future

By on March 7, 2012

The Customer 3D™ system approaches the future the way the design thinkers do. Customer-centered champions recognize that solutions are simply better iterations of today’s reality; but they also understand that even better models can be found by continuing to experiment with new approaches that will add even greater value in the future.

Customer 3D™ Collaboration

By on February 29, 2012

Customer 3D companies operate in a more cohesive way than conventional businesses. Employees have a single focus—the customer—and this purpose unifies the reason for their work and makes sense of the decisions that need to be made.

Pretending to be Customer-Centered

By on February 22, 2012

Every company will tell you it is customer-centered. But, you can’t call your organization customer-centric if you see-saw back and forth to being product-centered and occasionally adding a little customer-friendliness. Being customer-centered is intentional.

Not Questioning Enough

By on February 15, 2012

Companies must open windows to new service design ideas in an effort to connect with customers. Leaders in high-performing organizations must aggressively question “not broken” processes that appear to be “working” in order to discover how they can be further improved. Today’s approach to customer relations has to go beyond an “absence of problems” mentality to embrace innovation in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The Future is Arriving

By on February 8, 2012

In every industry, there are exceptional performers that don’t have to look for customers. Instead, they draw them in by defining the future that these devotees want to be shown. Rather than trying to perfect what is already being done, Customer 3D companies question what is not being said and then go after that new dimension.

Unfinished Business

By on February 1, 2012

In Customer 3D organizations, telling customer success stories helps to spread the behaviors that created the good ideas. What results is a shared passion for helping customers which manifests itself in greater employee empowerment and collaboration.

Customer3D™ Capacity to Do More

By on January 25, 2012

When Customer 3D capabilities are in place, employees are prepared to deliver exceptional customer-centered performance when needed. They can draw on a confidence and reserve that 1D organizations simply cannot understand. It is very much a difference-maker.

Enthusiasm for Customers

By on December 28, 2011

The Customer 3D system creates enthusiasm among employees because they are aligned around doing something meaningful for their customers. Work becomes much more satisfying and they become more effective.

Black Friday Revisited

By on December 7, 2011

Black Friday techniques are built on short-term tactics that primarily benefit the seller. A customer-centered mindset thinks differently. It focuses on long-term connections that are grounded in making customers more committed to maintaining a strong relationship with their suppliers.

Customer 3D Progress

By on November 16, 2011

The Customer 3D™ system uses a measurement process, which can quantify the progress toward becoming more customer-centered. 3D leaders never stand still in their search for new ways to make their organization work better for their customers.

Units of Measure

By on October 26, 2011

The Customer 3D™ system inside an organization measures momentum or the “amount of motion” that is happening for customers. It transcends individual transactions to ask, “What else can we improve?” It tracks how organizations touch customers' lives.

Customer Expectations

By on October 12, 2011

Customer 3D™ organizations are driven to change customers' expectations – by proactively delivering better, more collaborative outcomes. They have a system and a strategy that measures its success by its ever-improving performance for the customer.


By on September 22, 2011

3D customer thinking within organizations makes those companies very difficult to copy. The Customer 3D™ system takes customer-centricity to a new dimension by delivering real differentiation between your organization and the rest of the market.

The Time Spent on Customers

By on September 14, 2011

Customer 3D™ businesses focus on identifying new opportunities. Whereas product-centered companies during “down” times ask customers for additional orders on existing products, Customer 3D™ organizations look for new products and processes for customers.

Customer 3D™ Action Verbs

By on September 7, 2011

“The future of search is verbs.” Bill Gates made this comment to Esther Dyson to describe the transition to a new mindset, in which, as the world becomes more familiar with high-powered search engines, people “aren’t looking for nouns or information; they are looking for action.” (quoted in Curation Nation). The same concept is true […]

The Energy of Customer 3D™

By on August 31, 2011

There are many reasons to re-orient your organization to embrace Customer 3D™. If you are trying to decide whether the transformation is worth it, the phenomenal new energy that you will see in your employees is reason enough.

The Customer 3D™ Team

By on August 24, 2011

Customer 3D™ is the most effective way to make customer-centricity a reality. It establishes a system in which the company can provide solutions to the customer. Customer 3D™ is transformative, resulting in culture change that impacts all employees across the organization.

A Lot of People Can Sing…

By on August 17, 2011

But we don’t pay attention until they are really good. Exceptionally customer-centered organizations have an energy that attracts faithful customers who have noticed what makes them different and rewarded them with go-nowhere-else loyalty. Customers show up because of the company and the product is no longer part of the decision. They already know the product is going to be good.

Customer-Centric Wellness

By on August 10, 2011

Customer-centricity is an attitude, which can be compared with a company's wellness program. It is an effort that will bring about positive change in employees and elevate their confidence to take care of customer needs. It also becomes the foundation of better overall health for the organization.

Double Opportunities

By on July 27, 2011

One-dimensional companies look at what they can or cannot do, rather than what the customer needs or values. Customer-centered companies think proactively and innovate with creative ideas that will benefit the customer and that will also work out better for employees.

Re-Thinking Value

By on June 29, 2011

Ironically, being customer-centered also makes your products better. Why? Because these products and services that you are offering are now being designed based on what matters to your customers.

Resourceful Leadership

By on May 18, 2011

All customer-centered businesses have confidence in their capabilities and inventiveness. Their leaders educate the organization by modeling creativity and calling on inner resources to take care of every situation.The message is clear: “Focus on our customers rather than ourselves.”

Customer Maturity: A New Definition

By on May 4, 2011

Mature organizations have chosen to center their activities on what is best for the customer. Their primary purpose is customer success and they approach this goal with, as Nietzsche said, the intensity of a child at play.

Immunity to Change

By on April 20, 2011

Customer-centricity will create a new dimension of success that many companies cannot picture because they are being held back by their assumptions. The journey starts with the realization that success will come when a different organizational culture is in place and that it is worth the effort to change.

What Will Be Different?

By on April 6, 2011

Put your organization on a journey that creates a customer-centered culture. Design a culture that is empowered to “own” the customer in every interaction. Where you are in two years will be dramatically different—and better.

Missing the Obvious

By on March 30, 2011

Instead of fine-tuning the status quo, customer-centered organizations find opportunities to make the process more valuable by solving consumers’ problems.

The Customer’s Customer

By on March 2, 2011

Solution-selling must be customer-centered. In order to be successful, it must make the primary customer’s product better in the eyes of the secondary customer. It has to be focused on the customer’s customer.


By on February 2, 2011

The original customer relationship systems that you developed were acceptable 10-20-30 years ago are becoming obsolete. Remastering, however, is available through new systems that replace mechanistic, product-centric cultures with more organic, customer-centric versions.

Changing the Culture

By on January 5, 2011

Real customer-centricity will not happen without a strong culture that is empowered to think first about customer needs. Changing the culture of your business from product-centric and rules-driven requires leadership that expects employees to “do the right thing” for customers

Customers’ Perceptions of You

By on December 8, 2010

There is a pattern in all of the four pictures of Matisse, which allows the viewer to recognize him. Likewise, in organizations there is a wholeness, which is recognizable by customers. This wholeness is the real nature that determines everything about the organization.

Superficial Relationships

By on December 1, 2010

Customer-centered organizations create a deeper relationship with customers. By moving beyond a product-centric, “A to B” mentality, their culture of continuous improvement for all of their customers builds a more substantive relationship. They are legendary, rather than ordinary.

Customer Effort

By on November 17, 2010

A great measure of an organization’s focus on customer success is how customers perceive their Return on Effort. High-performing companies are always searching for ways to design more user-friendly processes. This goal of reducing customer effort can best be achieved in a “question-everything” organizational culture.

Customer by Committee

By on November 3, 2010

Organizations don’t need a committee to decide what makes sense for the customer. They need guiding principles that will permit freedom to design great ideas, but with an unmistakable gauge—the customer.

Sharing with Customers

By on October 27, 2010

A culture of sharing reinforces the belief that you and your customers have a common purpose. And this spirit of collaboration translates into a message that these customers can trust you to work on their behalf. It is empowering, both for employees and customers.

Linear Thinking for Customers Won’t Succeed

By on October 20, 2010

Highly customer-centered organizations believe they live in the same environment as their customers and they educate their employees to carry out a strategy that judges every action by the customer success it delivers.

Growing Customer-Centricity

By on October 13, 2010

Imagine a corporate culture that is like a tree's root system. It would be more alive and ready to “accept a much wider range of variations and possibilities.” Being customer-centered is not mechanistic; it is natural.

How to Eliminate Customer Boundaries

By on October 6, 2010

Boundaries disappear with a customer strategy that is proactive and focused, not reactive. It should articulate a basic philosophy that aligns all employees and brings confidence and clarity to how they can contribute to stronger customer connections.

The Milkshake Mistakes

By on September 29, 2010

By being customer-centric, you will you position yourself to notice things that you hadn’t noticed before. Your creativity will increase and so will your proactivity in designing new ideas for customers.

What Does WOW Mean?

By on September 22, 2010

In order to WOW customers, change your culture from supplier-focused to customer-focused. Thinking like a customer will make it clear to everyone what WOW means.

Making Sense to Customers

By on September 15, 2010

Making sense begins with the recognition that meaningful work involves finding a better solution for the customer. If the old structure was static, the new version is metamorphic: in readiness to become something else if that is what helps it connect with its customers.

Visual Thinking

By on September 8, 2010

All organizations should have a clean, clear vision of how they look to their customers—a 3D version that includes every aspect of the relationship. It doesn’t just happen. The organization must create a system to “shine a light” on itself in order to be useful to the customer.

Getting Past Task-Oriented Behavior

By on September 1, 2010

Educate task-oriented employees by demonstrating what a customer-centered culture would do. Then, measure the progress of the organization in galvanizing these new customer behaviors.

The First Day of School

By on August 26, 2010

First-time customers offer a unique opportunity to gauge the quality of the customer experience that you offer. Use VOC feedback from this group to enhance the experience for all customers--new and returning.

Customer Focus Leads to Personal Elevation

By on August 25, 2010

When the core value of an organization rests on what is best for the customer, a culture is created in which employees are part of a group that has “clicked” by being customer-centered.

Positive Customer Conditioning

By on August 18, 2010

Customer-centered organizations create positive customer conditioning through a system that delivers great company-wide ideas, not through transactional courtesy on the part of individual employees.

Creativity Focused on Customers

By on August 11, 2010

Use creative ways shake up your thinking and to open “the floodgates of inspiration.” Lisa Aschmann's song scenarios provide innovative ideas for doing great things for customers.

Customers Who Tolerate Us

By on August 4, 2010

“Because customers tolerate it” is no longer an acceptable reason in any forward-thinking organization. It is one thing to talk about customer care; it is a completely different approach to share the journey with those customers by providing them with what they need and expect.

Customer-Centricity: Two Meanings

By on July 28, 2010

A culture of giving which brings what Seth Godin calls “gifts that touch us, gifts that change us” to customers will place those organizations at the center of their customers’ universe.

Running to Stand Still

By on July 14, 2010

Companies should be asking: What things are our customers missing that we could give them (which will make us really different)? Being customer-centered is the essence of differentiation.

Lessons from Frank Lloyd Wright

By on July 7, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright believed that buildings (like customer-centric companies) should fit into their environments, rather than the other way around. Wright said, “No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill--belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”

Don’t Paint by the Numbers

By on June 30, 2010

Formulaic lists about how to succeed in business are too prescriptive. Instead, go back to the basic needs that your customers are asking to be filled and work forward from that point. Produce intelligence that leads to meaningful answers about how the customer will prosper.

Customer Myopia

By on June 23, 2010

Most supplier-centric organizations rationalize that they know what customers need. What these companies perceive to be needs fall far short of what customers want. Customer-centric organizations look for new opportunities to offer to their customers, rather than waiting for them to be asked for.

Customer Emergence

By on June 16, 2010

Design thinking is purposeful. It is the optimistic way of the future, focused on discovering and implementing new ideas for customers. In fact, design thinking can only be successful when it approached with a positive bias for customers.

No Limits

By on June 9, 2010

There are so many opportunities to develop cool, new ideas for our customers, but most organizations have limited their vision to the traditional view of the industry they are in. The best opportunities for no-limit ideas originate in completely different disciplines which provide new freedom and creativity if viewed through the lens of the customer.

Anti-Complexity Officer

By on June 2, 2010

The Anti-Complexity Officer would advocate for simplified processes allowing no compromises internally when the customer is involved.

Customer-Centered Systems

By on May 26, 2010

One simple transaction can build an incredible amount of trust. Redbox took a potentially one-dimensional problem report and turned it into a three-dimensional experience for its customer.

The Pronoun Test

By on May 19, 2010

A simple pronoun can mean the difference between sustainability and stagnation for an organization. Customer-centered workplaces always think “outside-in” by figuratively bringing their customers inside and reflecting a mindset of helping the customer succeed.

Transforming Your Customers

By on May 12, 2010

Customer-centricity has a benefit that most organizations don’t fully understand and don’t fully utilize. It is understanding, at a deep level, what your ideal customers do, how they behave, and the personality traits that you want to encourage in them.

Art or Science?

By on May 5, 2010

All companies have functional support activities which should be rules-driven and designed to reduce variation. Connecting with customers at the more advanced Levels 2 and 3 must be humanistic, designed to create fresh ideas for customers, and consequently requires more art.

Viewing Jobs Differently

By on April 28, 2010

Customer-centricity simply doesn’t happen without deeply caring employees who are encouraged to innovate for their customers. It cannot be mandated. It needs to be cultural. They have to feel they are part of building something that is purposeful.

Two Ways to Innovate

By on April 21, 2010

Innovation happens when organizations think like their customers. The approach should be built on the goal of making the exception the rule. Organizations should constantly be looking for a better way to accomplish what they are doing. And it should always be based on the real-world needs of the customer.

High Amplitude

By on April 14, 2010

The power of customer-centricity is strongest at Levels 2 and 3, which create a balanced system that permeates the internal silos that exist in most businesses. These high-level, customer-centered strategies produce higher loyalty and customer closeness in organizations that embrace them.

What’s Missing?

By on April 7, 2010

The efforts of customer-centered organizations to move to the upside for customers inspires confidence—for customers and for employees. What’s missing in supplier-centric organizations is a system to design and deliver creative ideas that will improve the experiences of customers.

Change Needs Creative Ideas

By on March 31, 2010

Teams should use creative storytelling to sell customer-connection ideas within their organizations. Visual examples will make the argument more convincing.Clear reasoning will take you from a state of “I think we should…” to “Here is what change will mean to our customers.”

Beautiful Evidence

By on March 24, 2010

The Customer-Centric Index™ measures closeness with external customers and strength of relationships with internal customers. It's geared to focus on silo-busting. It's systematic and consists of highly-specific measures of the behaviors that experience has shown will make organizations more customer-centric.

Can We Prove Customer-Centered Is Better?

By on March 17, 2010

Why should any supplier-centric organization switch to being customer-centric? It’s not difficult to imagine the arguments against the change: “Customer-centricity is an abstract idea. It involves a culture change. We prefer pragmatic results to ideology. Show us the benefits.”

Here's a look at the "Why" of customer-centricity.

Keeping Customers

By on March 10, 2010

There should be a process to regularly review performances for "good customers" rather than waiting for them to call in frustration, or, even worse, to leave without calling.

Keeping Pace with Customers

By on March 3, 2010

Make sure that your organization is prepared for change by putting some customer-centered monitors in place that will condition everyone to look for new ways by questioning the old ways. Set up a process to evaluate change on customers’ terms, not yours. It will be a great platform to start discussions of ways to strengthen your organization by consistently looking for ways to outperform.

Discovering a Better Way for Your Customers

By on February 24, 2010

Customer-centricity will not happen unless your organization is curious about customers and what they will need in the future. Create a culture that is continuously looking for ways to learn more about customers. Don’t become complacent. Be an explorer.

Creating Customer-Centered Ideas

By on February 17, 2010

Our success in generating innovative customer-centered thinking becomes stronger when our "ability to make new combinations is heightened by our ability to see relationships.” As in a kaleidoscope. new patterns develop and create exciting combinations when the variety of experiences that our teams bring to the search lead to fresher ideas within our organizations.

Is Engagement the Answer?

By on February 10, 2010

The word "engagement" with customers is used too casually. In a customer-centered view, you would not “win” and “keep” customers, but rather, cooperate with them as partners for a single purpose.

The Best Fit with Your Customers

By on February 3, 2010

Value equates to how the individual customer feels about doing business with you. It is your “fit” with their needs and it is embodied in an emotional connection. Execution involves deep understanding and a high degree of flexibility because “fit” is judged by your delivery in its broadest, most proactive, sense.

Unmet Customer Needs

By on January 27, 2010

Tomorrow’s success does not come from yesterday’s thinking. Dramatic change can only happen through commitment to a heuristic system which enables organizations to focus on designing products and services driven by customers’ needs.

Customer-Centered Decision Trees

By on January 20, 2010

Default procedures offer companies the chance to save their customers time and money, and help them maneuver through complexity. In every process, however, leaders should imagine themselves in the shoes of the people they serve.

Never Stand Still

By on January 13, 2010

No organization can afford to stand still. The best way to avoid inertia is to think like a customer. Because innovation is on a continuum, companies must constantly evaluate where they are.

Three Levels of Customer Purpose

By on January 6, 2010

Level 3 is transformational. At this stage, organizations have created a system that is based on design thinking, which makes us attentive, like a good designer and helps us “discard pre-existing ideas” about what customers value.

Timeless Customer Connections

By on December 30, 2009

There is a fundamental quality of great customer relations that many organizations have lost. The timeless system for customers is not going back, but beyond what exists today. The new paradigm represents congruence with your customers. It is authentic.

A Time for Reflection

By on December 23, 2009

“How can I make life easier for my customers (current and future)?" The answers will help your organization dramatically change its services in ways that will ultimately amaze your present customers and make new customers want to come to you.

The Impossibility Question

By on December 16, 2009

Instilling customer-centricity into your organization’s culture is not impossible, of course. But questioning works better than telling when you have a challenge to overcome. It creates buy-in when the team with whom you are working figures out how to approach the goal more realistically.

Getting Customers to Trust You

By on December 9, 2009

Earning the trust of your customers is easier with a well-designed, customer centric plan and inspired leadership.

Customer Creativity

By on December 2, 2009

Customers love creative companies. The best kind of creativity is built around ideas that focus on customers.

The Soul of the Customer

By on November 25, 2009

Treat customers and non-customers with a spirit of generosity.

Lower Your Risk by Getting Close to Your Customers

By on November 18, 2009

High-performing companies use customer closeness in order to become "great innovators" and "ferocious defenders" of their position in the markets they serve.

Customer Complacency

By on November 11, 2009

The status quo is a funny concept. It is comforting and familiar, of course. In many cases, unfortunately, we are lulled into accepting what exists today and not realizing how much better it could be. We don't need to change the status quo every time. However, we need to challenge the status quo every time. […]

Customers Want Simplicity

By on November 4, 2009

Avoid complexity for your customers. The best way to prove yourself to them is to make their lives simpler.

Customer-Centric Managers

By on October 28, 2009

A few passionate managers can change the culture in an organization by leading their team toward customer-centricity. Executive leadership must set the tone and direction for customer-centricity. But middle managers are in the best position to know when to take off the training wheels and make change happen.


By on October 21, 2009

Why are there organizations with customers that are "off the charts" in their loyalty? Customer-centricity creates a symbiotic relationship with customers. Hyper-loyal customers have a passion for converting others to become members of their "club" so that others can have the same great experiences.

Customer-Centric Problem Handling

By on October 14, 2009

Research which we do for our clients indicates time and time again that customers who reported a problem and were delighted with the outcome have higher satisfaction than the ones who never experienced a problem at all. Why would any company simply want to break-even with these opportunities? Service recovery should energize the organization to become more customer-centered.

An Early Warning System

By on October 7, 2009

“There’s no such thing as good news or bad news. There’s only fast news and slow news.” Fast knowledge happens within organizations that are connected and proactively communicating with their customers. Every organization should have an early warning system. The best one is built around closeness with your customers.

A New Approach to Customer-Centricity

By on September 30, 2009

The new approach to customer-centricity embodies being a caretaker for the customer ecology in every interaction between external customers and your organization.


By on September 23, 2009

Success requires collaboration so that the entire organization is “speaking the customer’s language.” Communication is inevitably poor when it's one-sided. Focusing on customers is the most important dimension of your culture; delivery must be as fluent as possible.

Customer Certainty

By on September 16, 2009

If you are constantly looking at what your competitors are doing, you will simply end up imitating each other. Being customer-centered brings better clarity to organizations because it focuses them on thinking like a customer, instead of a competitor.

How to Answer Questions

By on September 9, 2009

Amazon.com continues to be a successful, strong brand because it always answers its business questions—strategic and day-to-day—with a solution that includes “the customer.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO,  has given the world insight into how he leads the Amazon organization through a series of interviews over the years. I believe the best is “The Institutional Yes” […]

Educated Customers

By on September 2, 2009

The organizations that will survive and thrive five years from now are the ones that have educated customers. That's because smart customers will remain loyal to suppliers that deliver high value. This value goes far beyond a generic product or service. It educates its customers as part of the relationship. Customer-centered suppliers understand this as […]


By on August 26, 2009

Tells are indicators of what others see in you—how you will behave in any situation. Customers use all of your interactions with them to form an impression of how you will treat them as customers in the future. It is really important to understand these tells and to manage them deliberately because customers judge your […]

I Know All the Right Answers

By on August 19, 2009

Much of our client work involves assisting leaders in developing their organizations to become more customer-centered. But what if the leaders don't get it? What if they think they know all the right answers about customers already? A phrase that you hear a lot these days is "They don't know what they don't know". I […]


By on August 12, 2009

There is a simple method for outperforming and growing your business. It involves what author Jim Champy describes as "finding something that you can do better than your competitors." Every process that touches your customers represents an opportunity to distinguish your organization as better in the eyes of your customers. Here's how you can identify […]

The Multiplier Effect (Part II)

By on August 5, 2009

It is fantastic news that great performance, grounded in being customer-centered, is available for every business if it wants it. It grows out of deliberate practice and design of an organization-wide culture to improve on behalf of your customers. There is another dimension of the multiplier effect that will add even more to your image […]

The Multiplier Effect (Part I)

By on August 5, 2009

The more you do something, the better you get at it. We are familiar with this concept in sports and music, because the more you practice, the better you become. The same thing applies in leading your organization to become more customer-centered. In economics, a multiplier effect describes the degree of change in one variable […]

Greatness Without Customers?

By on July 29, 2009

It's amazing how organizations believe they can become great while ignoring their customers. Jim Collins' How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In builds off of his Good to Great and Built to Last tenets to analyze how successful companies get better, or conversely, how they decline. He describes how companies can under-perform by […]

Change We Can Believe In

By on July 22, 2009

I love it when people shake up the way we think. That is what we need in order to stay competitive in today's business environment. A growing number of new thought leaders are helping us to understand that the best approach to bringing about positive change is to structure our actions around being customer-centered. Pip […]

Right-Brain Business Goals (II)

By on July 15, 2009

Right-brain thinking will not take you to the next level without distinct business goals. The right-brain approach has always been a metaphor for intuitive, innovative, big-picture decision-making. With specific goals, this underutilized perspective will accelerate your business growth and customer commitment. Every successful organization needs specific customer-centered goals. These go far beyond narrowly thinking of […]

Right-Brain Business Goals (I)

By on July 8, 2009

Much has been written recently about right-brain thinking—and it is long overdue. Business has traditionally been left-brained, but its ability to search for greater efficiencies and to innovate while lowering costs has reached a plateau. The new opportunity to take performance to the next level is through right-brain thinking. A shift to this approach signifies […]

Designing a Better Future

By on July 1, 2009

When I conduct client workshops I often ask participants this question: What could your competitors be developing for your customers right now that you don't currently offer? We know it is impossible to draw an accurate picture of the future. As Yogi Berra said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." But we continue […]

The Last Question First

By on June 24, 2009

Alan Webber's Rules of Thumb is an absolute must-read. It is quintessential to leading your organization through the next day, week, year and beyond. It is game-changing, but simple. It is practical and inspiring at the same time. And it weighs in solidly on thinking like a customer. For example, Webber's Rule #3 is ‘Ask the […]

Be Notable

By on June 17, 2009

The greatest challenge of escaping the sameness of your product or service is to stay ahead of what your direct competition offers. Adjust the space that you operate in. That is, design and sustain a service that is truly different from the rest of your market segment. The key, of course, is to make certain […]

Loyalty Programs are Changing

By on June 10, 2009

Last week, I attended the Loyalty Expo, a showcase of the prominent suppliers using incentive rewards programs to drive their business growth. The good news is that some of the companies that are using these points programs are looking at new ways to drive loyalty by becoming more relevant and customer-centered. The old models are […]

Context is a Big Advantage (Part II)

By on June 3, 2009

Here's the reason that you want context from your customers: There is no greater source of new opportunities. Forget what you thought you knew about being customer-focused. The new business model is built around a culture in which employees, as Dev Patnaik says, "possess a shared and intuitive vibe...that helps them see new opportunities faster […]

Context is a Big Advantage (Part I)

By on May 27, 2009

We have all experienced the paradox that "the more successful a company becomes, the more likely it is to become removed from customer segments." (The Open-Empathy Organization, Dev Patnaik and Peter Mortensen, from Rotman Magazine, Spring 2009). If the phrase "taken out of context" has negative overtones (as it should) of misquoting, bad information and […]

The Age of Engage

By on May 20, 2009

The next great opportunity to drive customer closeness is optimizing the recognition of your most loyal customers. We live in the "age of engage", so success depends on developing an individualized relationship with important upper tier clients and an environment that encourages outstanding performance for this key subgroup of very committed customers. Ask yourself this […]

Branding Your Outperformism

By on May 13, 2009

The new competitive advantage is in outperformism, built around delivering the passion in your organization for being customer-centered. Because that fresh way of thinking is really, really valuable today, it should be viewed as your new brand. The old paradigm was to brand your product, then throw in your customer-centered behavior as icing on the […]


By on May 6, 2009

Outperformism is what successful organizations must do to differentiate their products and services and keep their competitive advantage. This level of performance only occurs when a company implements a structured system to proactively exceed the expectations of its customers. It is borrowed from the term ‘outperform' for a rating which a stock analyst might give […]

Customer-Centric Management is Non-Traditional

By on April 29, 2009

Much has been written about the successful partnership model epitomized by Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart in a landmark collaboration started 20 years ago. However, in addition to the Information Technology and supply chain synergies that developed, the even greater lesson to be learned is that being customer-centric involves changing your organization chart in terms […]

The Quiet Revolution

By on April 22, 2009

Many well-intentioned companies tell us that they want to exceed our expectations. Unfortunately, in many cases, we are used to "unexpected" service at the transactional level, when, for example, an employee from a business provides us with great service. Now, what was once unexpected has become simply table stakes in the drive to differentiate your organization […]

Customer-Centered Strategy

By on April 15, 2009

What if you developed a specific strategy that focused your organization on becoming more customer-centered? It would take your organization to a new dimension, where you will outperform your competitors in the eyes of your customers. Most companies tell themselves that their strategy is to make profits or maximize return to their shareholders. This is not a […]


By on April 8, 2009

Breakthrough ideas are easier to identify than ever before. Train your organization to use its design capabilities. Designer thinking will become more and more important in every organization's relationships with its customers.

Customer Excellence as a Way of Life

By on April 1, 2009

Successful companies have an excellence quotient that they never compromise. The secret, however, is not in products and marketing. The secret is in creating this excellence from the viewpoint of the customer, because that is who will ultimately be the judge of whether they deserve that high status. The secret is in becoming customer-centered. One […]

Short-Term Thinking

By on March 25, 2009

Short-term thinking has plagued businesses for years, but in today's economic conditions, it is even more dangerous. Now is the time for change, not to stand still. Organizations in a survival mode resort to quick fixes such as downsizing and postponing expenses. Their leaders don't realize that they cannot recycle the ideas of the past […]

Customer-Centric Accelerator

By on March 18, 2009

Becoming customer-centric is transformational and it requires a change in culture as well as in process design. It demands a long-term commitment that involves everyone in your organization. However, there is one proven method to jump-start the process in a way that will accelerate the company-wide commitment to the journey. The graphic with this article […]

The Potential Product

By on March 11, 2009

Everything-products or services-can be enhanced to perform better than it does today. Rather than thinking about what the service currently looks like, envision what it can be in the future. The secret is to approach it from the user's viewpoint--by thinking like a customer. Harvard professor Ted Levitt defined this development process 40 years ago […]

The Benefits of Being Customer-Centric

By on March 4, 2009

Being customer-centric is the best way to supercharge your organization. When I present to audiences about thinking like a customer, they all say they want to become more customer-centric. However, few of them can really articulate WHY they want to become that way. Let's explore the benefits of transitioning your organization to becoming more customer-centric. […]

The Most Important Question

By on February 25, 2009

The most important question that every organization must answer is "Exactly how is the customer changing?" Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison, in The Profit Zone: How Strategic Business Design Will Lead You to Tomorrow's Profits, challenged businesses: "To create a strategic and dynamic perspective on the customer, one must have a clear and compelling point of […]

Great Performances

By on February 18, 2009

When you go out to a show or another event, you expect a great performance. What makes you think your customers don't expect that from you every day? My wife and I enjoyed a 7-day cruise recently. Part of the entertainment consisted of performances by the Second City Comedy Group. In addition to rehearsed sketches, […]


By on February 11, 2009

Why do satisfaction surveys have such a bad name? Because very little is ever done with the majority of them. And why is nothing done with them? Because the results are not actionable. Larry Bossidy in Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right warns against shallow, "one-size-fits-all" surveys that are typically designed by the […]


By on February 4, 2009

When a plant is put in a window, over time it begins to lean toward the light. In the same manner, generous, abundant actions by businesses create a positive energy source that attracts customers. These suppliers are viewed as legendary, not ordinary.

Can I Have Your Customers?

By on January 28, 2009

If a competitor asked you this question, your emphatic answer would be "No Way!" Customers are assets. You wouldn't give up your computers or manufacturing equipment, would you? Well, now is the optimum time to upgrade your strategy with a serious focus on thinking like your customers. In these severe economic times, the competition is […]

Winning Streaks

By on January 21, 2009

It seems that in the 21st century, we are fascinated by winning streaks in business. In the same way in which we admire teams or individuals that can dominate their sports, we look up to companies who have had long-term success. However, recognizing these winning streaks is much easier than understanding how they become a […]

A Well-Defined Future

By on January 14, 2009

Organizations will not be successful by making old ways more efficient. The competitive environment is changing so rapidly that a lean cost structure is no longer a differentiator. Instead, the advantage going forward will go to the companies that can develop a solidly different vision that tests their decisions based on what is best for […]


By on January 7, 2009

Your customers, by definition, are outside the "four walls" of your organization. Progressive, successful organizations, however, look for opportunities to invite customers to participate in their internal activities. It is a remarkable way to clearly validate customer-focus to all of your employees. It is also a way to inject new thinking that otherwise may not […]

The Year of the Customer

By on December 31, 2008

As we are about to begin a new year, please let me assure you that I am just kidding with the title of this post. Isn't it somewhat presumptuous to announce just one year for customers, when every day and every year should be devoted to them? It also makes you wonder what the other years […]

How Did You Do It?

By on December 24, 2008

Every company during the holidays will be reaching out to its customers and thanking them for the relationship they have had during the year. At this thoughtful time of the year, it is valuable to take a true assessment of your success. But as you reflect on what you have accomplished in the year, it […]

Creating Customer Mindshare

By on December 17, 2008

Thinking like a customer is unselfish. Barlean's CIO, Jade Beutler, describes his organization's efforts as "making things intuitive for consumers." But unselfish acts also pay off in ways that benefit us, as we all know. Barlean's is a Ferndale, Washington-based seller of organic nutritional products, such as fish oils and flax seed. They were founded […]

Make Good News Better

By on December 10, 2008

Great organizations are always inventing new ways to make customers' experiences more valuable. South African Airways focuses on higher performance by looking at each element of its service from the customer's viewpoint. For example, SAA prints letters from its customers with compliments or questions in its in-flight magazine, Sawubona. Not unusual. However, it answers each […]

That Sounds Familiar

By on December 3, 2008

Technology is advancing so quickly that there is a risk customers will not accept it or, at least, not like it. My wife and I were in a casino recently playing the slot machines for fun (certainly not for profit!). The devices, of course, were electronic and took cash, magnetic cards or casino-approved receipts in […]

Customer Details

By on November 26, 2008

Customer focus does not happen offhandedly. It requires leadership and emphasis on details to stay effective. Many organizations fail or drift because they believe it is easy, they take it for granted and they don't deliver the concentrated efforts needed to be successful. Donald Keough, who was President and COO of Coca-Cola Company at the […]

What Can Your Customers Accomplish?

By on November 19, 2008

There's a difference between providing your customers only with the product or service that they expect and helping them achieve what they care about. How would it feel to offer your customers something that didn't cost you anything, but that delivered to them a powerful sense of accomplishment? CP Rochester in Rochester, NY knows all […]

The Meaning of Loyalty

By on November 12, 2008

Companies that want loyal customers must first develop a sense or attachment with their customers. The Chinese character for loyalty literally means, "from the center of the heart." representing the more emotional side of loyalty and sense of purpose.

A New Word

By on November 5, 2008

Sometimes you need to invent a word to describe something that has not actually been well-defined before. Sometimes you need to invent a word to describe something that you really care about. I had the great fortune to meet a team leader in the service industry recently at her job. She was the perfect combination […]

Inspire Your Customers

By on October 29, 2008

It is much better to have inspired customers than simply satisfied ones. Metroparks of the Toledo (OH) Area understands this relationship with its customers extremely well. It has a Board of Directors' mandate to preserve land, so if the organization has $1 left to spend, that's where it is invested. Yet customers may not always […]

The Seventh Hat: For Customers

By on October 22, 2008

Dr. Edward de Bono is renowned for his groundbreaking work in lateral thinking and systems for generating ideas. In his book Six Thinking Hats (Little, Brown and Company, copyright 1985, 1999 by MICA Management Resources, Inc.) he describes a technique for channeling thoughts about a problem or improvement opportunity by putting on one of six […]

Customer-Centric Efficiencies

By on October 15, 2008

Every city's telephone book has a page of local government departments and agencies. It's usually in a different page color so that it can be found easily. It is also full of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of listings--a fact that makes it frustrating and intimidating for the citizen attempting to make the call. Why do […]

Customer Camaraderie

By on October 9, 2008

  When customers are suffering though really poor performance from an organization from whom they are buying a service, it unites them in a unique kind of camaraderie. Today is the six-month anniversary of the US Airways incident described in my October 8th post. This article is a tribute to Sonita, Marty, Evan, Samuel and […]

Seamless Customer Care

By on October 8, 2008

Mercedes-Benz has a captivating ad that says "Most people will never need ____, but we build it in anyway". The company inserts various features in the tagline, identifying aspects of their cars that differentiate them. This phrase also illustrates a fundamental concept for all organizations that want to outperform for their customers: Make sure that […]

Creating Customer Closeness

By on October 1, 2008

Is there anything better than something that helps your customer and brings you more business at the same time? Probably not. The National Parks Service passport program is a great example. It was created in 1986 to promote the national parks and is currently operated by Eastern National to “promote the public’s understanding and support […]

Abundance Gaps

By on September 24, 2008

In the book Making the Impossible Possible, Kim Cameron and Marc Lavine define an abundance gap. It is an elegant concept that fits perfectly in describing how to take care of customers. There is often a disconnect between what customers want and what organizations choose to give them. Most companies believe that if they eliminate […]

Clever is Better

By on September 17, 2008

I discovered this “Do Not Disturb” hanger in the Rosebank Hotel in Johannesburg recently. I have told several people because of its uniqueness. The phrase, “(Unless you’re from the lotto prize committee)” makes you stop, think, (and smile). It indicates that the hotel’s marketing department took the time to improve an item that, frankly, is […]

I’d Rather Fight than Switch

By on September 10, 2008

Remember the newspaper and television ads from the Sixties that showed a smoker with a black eye (obviously put on with makeup) who was determined to keep his brand of cigarettes, even if he had to fight for them? Do you remember the name of the cigarette? (Tareyton) These ads, which ran from 1963 through […]

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