“How Do You Define a Customer-Focused Strategy?”

Glenn Ross of AllBusiness-Customer Service emailed us customer-service bloggers this question. Very good question, in fact.

To me a customer-focused stategy is a detailed plan with the sole objective of satisfying customer needs or requirements. Yes, I share the view that it is putting the customer at the center of all initiatives.

Now, the tricky part is how to go about it?

If I were to design a customer-focused strategy, I’d take an outside-looking-in approach. That means I start with getting the voice of the customer (VOC) and work around that premise. No one knows better than our customers as to how we should serve and make them happy. Armed with the knowledge of what my customer wants or needs, I can then work on my processes to make them customer-friendly.

I remember in one customer service seminars I attended, one speaker shared his experience when he was still working for Burger King. In the hope of giving what customers want, they positioned themselves to be the best grilled burger joint in the country. So they did, or so they thought. They were excited about their yummy grilled burgers. But to their surprise, their sales were not picking up. When they investigated, they found out that most customers of burger chains wanted a toy to go with their burger meal.

In other words, their intention was good, but they missed the point altogether. Yet they set out to be customer-centric. It’s easy to say, we are customer-focused or customer-centric, but to actually carry out a customer-focused strategy will take time and lots of research on your market.

I’ve written quite a few posts on customer-centricity and mentioning some companies as examples. Check them out:

What Does Being Customer-Centric Mean?
Robin Barnwell on Customers
Bob Thomson’s Customer-Centric Resolutions for 2007
Just the Customer Alone

AND

You can still catch this live webcast: Best Practices for Customer-Centric Success (May 13, 2008 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. New York; 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m London; 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Paris).

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