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Customer-Centricity

What You Are Already Doing

By on May 30, 2014

It’s easy for organizations to explain what they already are doing well for the customer. It’s often difficult for them to explain what they could have done better.

Anticipation

By on February 19, 2014

Prevention is always better than repairing problems for customers. Empower employees to challenge and change current processes that create customer effort.

The Customer 3D™ Premium

By on October 12, 2013

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 […]

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.

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.

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 […]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Customer Creativity

By on December 2, 2009

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

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.

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.

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.

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” […]

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 (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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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-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. […]

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 […]

Outside-Inside

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]