It's 2008, and the race for the customer continues at a fast clip. To win, you have to realize that it's a relay of sorts: Every department that impacts your customer throughout the lifecycle of that relationship must hand the baton off smoothly. The competition is on your heels and consumer expectations are far out in front. On a playing field where the pacesetter in function or price can be quickly matched or even outpaced, many providers will be left with one competitive advantage -- the quality of the customer experience they deliver. Winning the race for customers requires a deep, sustained commitment -- it's more a marathon than a sprint. Achieving high performance requires delivering a consistent, differentiated customer experience -- getting it right will help boost customer loyalty and, by extension, growth, profitability, and shareholder value.