Valuing Customers

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					                     Valuing Customers
                     Customers must be valued – and shown that they are valued.
                     Getting close to customers and developing commitment via
Getting new
                     partnerships is fundamental.
satisfying           Getting new customers, satisfying existing customers – even
existing             surprising them is critical. Customers must perceive a conviction
customers –          that your organization exists for the customer and only for the
even surprising
them is critical.

                     It is every associate understanding and believing in devotion to
Staying close
to the customer
                     the customer. Even those away from direct customer contact are
is not only          intensely linking with customers – either directly or through those
satisfying their     talking to customers every day.
needs, but
anticipating         Staying close to the customer is not only satisfying their needs,
their wants.
                     but anticipating their wants. Quality, reliability, service, innovation
                     are always top of mind.

                     Breaking Out!
                     There is high leverage in unconventional wisdom. Conventional
But,                 wisdom = status quo. Yes, use all available knowledge, data, and
breakthroughs        experience and apply it creatively, uniquely. But, breakthroughs
come from
                     come from looking at things differently and applying the
looking at
things               discoveries and results in the marketplace.
differently and
applying the         Consider this. As we learn to paint, we become aware of more –
discoveries and      more colors, more shapes, more of the previously hidden. We
results in the
                     are using the same eyes, same reference points, but are learning
                     to see differences, to discriminate. And once we see things more
                     clearly, we find it difficult to think about things the “old way” – we
                     don’t even want to.

                     Beyond Demographics…the Character of the Customer is
And once we          somewhat like a Swiss Army Knife – prying off stubborn lids
see things           [revealing insight], punching holes through a barrier [of smoke
more clearly,
                     and mirrors], pulling a cork from a bottle [of answers]. It is a
we find it
difficult to think   simple, direct way for you to more intimately understand your
about things         customers, to know customers better than your competition.
the “old way” –      Continually update. Verify the understandings with front line
we don’t even
want to.

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                    people and customer research to update your knowledge of…the
                    Character of the Customer.
                    Begin today!

                    Retaining and Acquiring Customers
                    The cost of retaining customers, expanding relationships with
                    customers is considerably less costly than acquiring new
Calculate the
                    customers. Calculate the lifetime value of our customers. Talk to
lifetime value of   all associates about the our customer’s value. Provide customer
our customers.      relationship leadership every day, all the time.

                    Dig, dig, dig to better understand our customers. Listen, ask
Response time       again, listen again.    Seek ideas from customers, look for
is shorter and      opportunities to collaborate, innovate, become partners.
                    Communicate what is discovered throughout the organization.
are high.
Everyone must       Build a “structure of understanding” about our customers. Use an
be tuned into       easy to communicate method to help everyone recognize and
the customer.       discuss customers, their basic needs and interests. Speed is
                    essential. Response time is shorter and shorter. Expectations
                    are high. Everyone must be tuned into the customer.

                    Being a Customer Friendly Organization
                    Use Beyond Demographics…The Character of the Customer
Consider the        knowledge and insight to over-deliver to our customers. Become
basics – we are     a more user friendly organization. Live for our customers. Make
all customers,      “Customer first’ the culture of our organization. Stay in touch, try
but customers       things, experiment, innovate with customers.
in many
different ways.
                    Consider the basics – we are all customers, but customers in
                    many different ways. We have different goals, different standards
                    depending on the product, service, circumstance, etc. Our
                    expectations change according to a variety of factors. Our
…discover           customers are also people. They have various priorities and
what motivates      desires which form buying preferences and habits.
them to make
create              Segment customers by the way they are/what they want, in
partnerships,       addition to who they are/what they buy, when, where. Clumping
brag about          by product/service preference, geography, distribution channels,
their               etc. reveals something important about customers, but fails to
                    discover what motivates them to make decisions, create
                    partnerships, brag about their experiences with a supplier.

                    Connecting with Our Customers
Appreciate          Beyond Demographics…The Character of the Customer helps
what                provide the platform and mechanisms for connecting closely with
customers are
trying to
what makes
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them tick.
                    our customers in new, surprising ways. It helps connect the entire
                    organization to customers and helps all associates identify
                    opportunities for providing innovative, surprising product and
                    service solutions.

Provide rare,       Use the new customer insight to appreciate what our customers
                    are trying to accomplish. Appreciate what makes them tick.
memorable           Create a competitive advantage by appealing to customers’ basic,
answers to          underlying motivations and concerns in unique ways.
customer            Differentiate our products and services. Provide rare, genuine,
opportunities.      competent, memorable answers to customer opportunities.

                    When associates understand, they can get the job done for
Associates will
                    customers. They will always work harder, more creatively, more
always work
harder, more        intelligently for customers – than for the “boss”. Continually
creatively,         showing courtesy and concern for customers is a lot of work. It
more                requires intensity, concentration, attention to detail. Focusing on
intelligently for   the real, heartfelt needs of customers saves time. It more
customers –
                    effectively leverages resources.       It is required to compete
than for the
“boss”.             effectively and gain new customers – customers acquired from
                    someone else!

                    Managing Customer Perceptions
                    Customer perceptions can either be left alone to continue to
                    develop and solidify, based on one-sided observations and
                    hearsay – or those perceptions can be accurately shaped. The
Build a few         more deeply customers are profiled and understood, the easier it
, easy to           is for us to perceive our business through their eyes.
“word pictures”     Build a few understandable, easy to remember, “word pictures” of
of our              our customer segments. Learn more about them, live in their
customer            skin, relate to their lives – look at our products, services and total
                    offering through their eyes. Perceive as they would, and take
                    action to change both our organization’s perceptions of the
                    customer and the customer’s perceptions of us -- to create strong

                    Newly Discovered Needs -- Becoming Trends
                    Use Beyond Demographics…The Character of the Customer to
                    find unmet needs, unmet wants. Everyone in our industry knows
…surprise           about the “out-front” needs and there are many solutions offered
customers by        to meet those needs, exceed those expectations. But, the real
                    competitive power, the real leverage with our customers is in
their unspoken,
unmet needs.        locating the “not-so-obvious” opportunities to surprise customers
                    by addressing their unspoken, unmet needs.

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                    Unmet needs are often the foundation of new trends. We all
                    occasionally make comments about a new trend – “look at that”.
                    We even marvel at the obviousness of some trends – “right on,
                    who do you think figured that out, its about time”. John Naisbitt is
                    a world class expert at spotting trends with an approach that
This is             correlates increasing amounts of print space in local newspapers
fundamental to
                    with an emerging trend. Be alert!
really creating
transforming        Segmenting our customers according to their characteristics, in
the way             addition to their demographics gives us an opportunity to actually
business is         cause trends to develop rather than depending on others to pick
done in our
                    up on them for everyone to see. This is fundamental to really
                    creating and transforming the way business is done in our

                    Re-Invention of Customer Relationships
                    The key to re-invention, innovation, market transformation is
                    understanding the “culture” of the market. What is the nature of
                    the market? What makes it ebb and flow? Where is it headed?
Continual re-
examination is      What are the characteristics of the participants? How do they
critical to         want to be treated? How can we best understand and relate to
survival, not       our customers?
merely market
advantage. We
                    And just when we think we understand, our world changes.
are all in a race
with no finish      Circumstances change, needs and expectations change, attitudes
line.               change. Continual re-examination is critical to survival, not
                    merely market advantage. We are all in a race with no finish line.
                    Will we thrive or merely survive? The customer holds the keys
                    and owns the car. We can supply some essential power
We had better       elements, some desired amenities – or beg for a ride. We had
be essential!       better be essential!

                    Customers are made differently, act differently, respond
                    differently. Give customers what they want, not what you think
Reinforce who
customers           they want. Customers don’t readily admit that they respond to
think they are,     emotional needs when making decisions. Customer decisions
who they want       should be reinforced by people who understand their motivations,
to be, how they     as well as spoken needs and expectations. Pay attention to
want to be
                    customers as people, as well as buyers.         Reinforce who
                    customers think they are, who they want to be, how they want to
                    be approached.

                    Understanding, Sifting, Focusing

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 Distill down to   We are awash in a flood of data and information. Things are
 an accurate,      changing so quickly it is tough to keep up. We struggle to make
 simple            decisions in a world of complexities. In many cases there is little
 understanding,    precedent for action in the face of newly emerging trends. What
 easily grasped
 by everyone.
                   is happening to our customers? What are they thinking, dealing
                   with? How can we distill our customer dynamic down to some
                   accurate, simple understanding that can be easily grasped by
                   everyone in the organization? How can we provide everyone with
                   actionable tools with which we can create deeper partnerships
customer           with our customers?
motivation,        Tracking customer purchase habits/buying patterns is enormously
decision-          useful data that can provide essential guidance. However,
rationale, what
                   Customer Relationship Management must incorporate another
makes them         dimension. To truly engage customers in a way that creates
tick.              loyalty and ensures repeat purchases, organizations must
                   understand customer thinking, motivation, decision-making
                   process, rationale for evaluation. They must identify what makes
                   them tick.

Buy in to          We need to create lasting, profitable business relationships by
customers’         building solution partnerships.       We need to address their
perceptions of     perceptions as a true reflection of how they think, what they want.
                   What our customers perceive is reality to them. We can either
                   insist on our view of reality, our perception of reality, or buy in to
                   customers’ perceptions of reality. The choice is ours – and
                   success hangs in the balance!

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