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Customer-Centered

Customer-Centered Advocates

By on April 9, 2014

Organizational advocacy for the customer will be the difference-maker in the future. Because you understand their needs more clearly, they will advocate for you in return. That’s the essence of customer loyalty.

Customer Expectations

By on December 9, 2013

Many companies claim that they want to "exceed customers' expectations." There’s a problem with this mantra, however. It is based on the supplier’s view of what its customers expect. And this is inevitably shaped by the rules and procedures that have been built up to "protect" the business. There are built-in limits. Employees understand that […]

Creative Customer Performance

By on November 25, 2013

When organizations focus on what their customers will tell others, it opens performance to a new dimension. Suddenly, everyone from front-line employees to executives takes on a creative role that embraces exciting new ideas.

What Needs Changed?

By on October 16, 2013

The title of this post can be interpreted in two ways. First, it can represent the question “What needs to be changed?’ What are the situations or worldviews that are not working and that, therefore, ought to be improved? These are the ideas that we rally together to challenge and to make better. Secondly, it […]

Anti-Complexity Officer

By on October 10, 2013

We have enough complexity already. Consequently, we have less and less patience with suppliers that expect us to figure out how to do business with them. We have heard a lot in recent years about the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). How about an Anti-Complexity Officer whose job it is to advocate for simplified processes for […]

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Hyper-Loyalty

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.

Fluency

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 […]

Tells

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 […]

Extraordinary

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Outperformism

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 […]

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 […]

Designfulness

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 […]