Leader In Sales, Marketing, Quality or Service

Today's customers are more informed, resourceful, demanding and savvy than they have ever been. Information technology has put vast amounts of data at their fingertips. The Internet and other channel advances have further intensified competition among suppliers. Commoditization has driven customer expectations to new highs. And except for those rare sectors where demand seems to always run ahead of supply, over-capacity or obsolete inventories seem to be the new norm in many industries. As a result, customers know that better, faster and cheaper alternatives are just a click away.

To win, companies must get much better at understanding and anticipating customers' expectations, defining and measuring customer value, and managing the total customer experience. Tools and initiatives like CRM, CSM, TQM, CQI and others, clearly have significant value and a key role to play in addressing this challenge. However, they are not dynamic, penetrating or forward-looking enough to provide real clarity around the customers' unstated and unmet needs. For that, you need honest engagement with the customer on a regular basis, taking place at as many contact points as possible. This responsibility can't be left to the traditional Relationship or Account Manager model because there are too many voices of the customer that can get filtered out in that model; and any of these other voices can also strengthen, or weaken, a supplier's foothold. To hear all of the voices, you need as many listeners as possible.

That's where other parts of your organization come into play. Companies that excel in satisfying customers share at least one common practice: various employees - not just those with front-line jobs - spend a significant amount of time interacting in depth with customers. In customer-driven companies, employees are increasingly organized and deployed around customer processes, needs and outcomes. They are inspired, and shown how, to learn as much as possible about customers, and focus on new ways of delivering value to those customers. Unfortunately, while many leaders intellectually agree with this thinking, they will often side step it because they aren't sure how to make it happen.

What about you? Do you have an effective Voice of the Customer process in place that keeps you constantly tuned in to your customers' unstated and unmet needs? Do you know how your various customer segments define value? Is your brand promise geared toward providing that value? In short, is your company doing enough to protect and leverage the investment it has in its customers? If you can't confidently say "yes", and want to learn more about taking your customer's experience to the next level, just give us a call at 866-302-9099, or click on the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of this page.


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