The Customer Centric Imperative is the new book from Dr Linden Brown and Chris Brown on why creating a customer culture is no longer a nice to have, but an imperative. Based on three years of research, Linden and Chris have created a framework of 7 key elements that are important in creating a culture that has the customer at the focus of your business. We all know what it feels like to be let down by a company, but how many of us however have been delighted by a customer experience? According to Forrester Research less than 10% of us. Linden explains in an interview with me how creating a customer culture is an opportunity to create a point of difference, a competitive advantage, that is hard for your competitors to replicate.
Brian Solis latest You tube describes the next generation as “Generation C” – the connected generation. Solis describes that we are connected through experiences and that social capital is the currency of “what other people say about you” Creating consistent customer experiences that are helpful, inspiring, and show empathy for the customer is doing what counts for the customer and this is the underlying premise of The customer Culture Imperative. Understanding the customer’s needs and wants has never been so transparent.
Tony from Zappo’s (a shoe company) has built another business around company culture. Tony believes the culture and getting that right is their number 1 priority. At Zappos every one is trained in customer culture. Everyone is in the call centre. “customer service is not a department but the whole company’s job description.” At the end of the first week training everyone is offered $2000 to leave and at the end of the training $3000. Tony only wants people who want to work at Zappos. Those that didn’t take the offer, they were passionate and engaged as an employee. (note only 3% take the offer). This emphasis that The Customer Culture Imperative explains is being taken onboard by many companies big and small. From Zappos, Moo.com, to mod cloth.com to many others that are mentioned in this book.
We now need to focus on the customer journey. There are so many opportunities to customise this this journey. As Kerry Modine from Forrester explains. “different parts of the organisation need to talk to one another and understand how the customer interacts to improve this experience.”
Linden and Chris have create a new way for companies to identify how to create a brand that employees and customers will love. Insight, foresight, collaboration, teamwork and strategic alignment are the keys to unlocking business value by connecting with customers and what they really want and are willing to pay for. Instead of focusing on the products and services you might make, it is now imperative to focus on the products, services and experience that your customers want to buy and how they want to buy them.
In running a small business it critical to get marketing tools that do the best job so you can get on with your job. The best tools are in my view allow for integration of marketing tasks and provide a platform with a metric dashboard. Functions I look for include:
Email platform and automation
Website creation via a nice interface (CMS)
Analytics for all tools
Social media tools
Great design functionality and flexibility
Easy to learn and use
Great segmentation of prospects and customers by any attribute
Flexible form creation
Integration easily with third party tools (API)
Reasonable cost for small business
Great training and support
Easy Dashboard for measurement
I came across this site G2Crowd that has user reviews of such platforms and so before you invest in a website, CRM, etc please look at what others are saying. It always depend on your business and what you need but it is worth considering an integrated platform so you manage and integrate marketing efforts.
Last night I was really moved by a young man Adam Braun who decide to throw in the towel in a great paying job to educate kids in 3rd worlds by creating Pencils of Promise. So far he has built over 200 schools. I want to help him build another one. To donate go here.
His new book is called The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change“, Adam shares his personal journey from high finance through more than 50 countries and explains the essential steps that every person must take to discover their own life of passion and purpose. For more information, you can follow him on Twitter @AdamBraun and on Facebook. In the following interview, Braun shares his story of how he started Pencils of Promise, what he learned from Wall Street that has helped him, why some non-profits are becoming for-profits, how he’s leveraged social networks to generate donations, and his best career advice.
Pencils of PromisePencils of Promise believes every child should have access to quality education. We create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all. PoP has broken ground on more than 100 schools and delivered over 3.5 million educational hours to children around the world.
It is a sobering thought that as a business, customers have more control over their conversations with us. They can completely disconnect from having any conversations.
“We get it. Times have changed. The Internet has shifted the power. It used to be that a sales person could call a prospective buyer, ask for a meeting, and sit down with his trusty sales brochure and PowerPoint deck. Sales and marketing held great sway in the buying decision. Fast forward 10 years. Today’s savvy, educated, overworked buyers won’t even talk to you until they have completed nearly 60% of the purchasing decision.”Harvard Business Review
This means we have to work much harder to get our customers attention. What makes people buy? Yes they have a need or want, a budget, the authority and have found a solution but we are emotional beings and more than often we buy on connection, gut reaction and from people we like.
describes the issue between sales and marketing well with this diagram and the effort we have in getting high quality leads. What I really liked about Jeff’s article was the emphasis he placed on the human touch and how human traits like being real, being relevant, being individual and have that two way conversation and “connecting human beings with other human beings and not letting a computer screen get in the way” is such an important insight. That we buy from people we like, know and trust. That is it all about picking up the phone and having a chat. So while we might have challenges in reaching customers, we shouldn’t loose sight that it is that intimate connection that is so powerful and that “the human touch is much more memorable than any email or Twitter campaign will ever be.” Jeff Katler.