Oh man, I love the blogosphere!
In early May I e-mailed some of my fellow customer service bloggers with a request to define “customer-focused strategy.” Everyone talks about it, but because my organization is moving in the direction of becoming more “customer-focused,” I felt it was important that we all have a definition on which we could agree. I didn’t want to run into trouble down the road as different departments used different interpretations.
A plan that emphasizes the needs of a particular customer segment over that of the organization.
Tom at QA QnA pointed out that the strategy needed to contain feedback from customers (not just the company’s best guesses). Then Becky at Customers Rock pointed out that the plan should be proactive. Reading the comments to her post I found one left by Estaban Kolsky who emphasized the need for the strategy to be “win-win,” and linked to a post on the topic. I liked his cogent post so much that I immediately added him to my list of daily “must read blogs” and that was before I discovered he’d left a similar comment on my blog.
Following Estaban’s comment was one by Graham Hill over at CustomerThink who made a similar point that the strategy better be profitable or the company would abandon it.
Therefore, with input from all of the above, I offer you version 2.0. (New words in italics.)
Customer-Focused Strategy: A proactive plan that emphasizes the needs of a particular customer segment over that of the organization while benefiting both.
It’s “proactive” because the organization should be planning how it will meet or exceed customers’ needs.
I chose “customer segment” over “customer” because nearly every type of business has more than one type of customer. Separate strategies should exist for each segment.
“…while benefiting both,” speaks to the points Estaban and Graham made. This phrase might not be as strong as Graham prefers but it’s in there.
Am I missing anything here? What do you think?
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the conversation. You’ve just helped to fight back against cancer. The more we focus on the needs of our customers (we call them “constituents) the more needless suffering we’ll eliminate. You’ve helped add clarity to our planning.
P.S. Read this blog post to learn more about the 50 ways the American Cancer Society fights cancer.