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Article CX Strategy

Knowing Customers Becomes More Important Each Day

The pressure on companies to be more customer centric is increasing

It only takes one competitor to raise bar and the big problem is those companies who are truly flat-footed. In sports they always talk about being on your toes, leaning forward so you can react more quickly to sudden moves by your competitors. So what’s the business equivalent? It’s a combination of flexible product and service architecture and also knowing your customer base well enough to make quick go/no-go decisions.

The latter is increasingly important — because so much innovation is going on in every industry that management can spend 24/7 bouncing off competitor strategies. The only antidote is deeper understanding of customers so deciding which competitor moves should be reacted to becomes a faster and more internally aligned process.

Easy to underestimate the importance

There are those executives who continue to rely on the Steve Jobs axiom of ‘customers don’t know what they’ll need in the future because it hasn’t been invented yet’. Interpreted correctly, that means ‘if you know your customers very well, then you should be thinking ahead of them’. Very few executive teams that I have come across share Steve Jobs innate understanding of their current and future customer base.

The problem lies with the assumption that your current knowledge of the customer base (including target customers) is enough to take that tact. The only way to test the assumption is to dig deeper by requesting, gathering and interpreting customer insights.

Most companies have a treasure trove of untapped data that is particularly valuable because it is the product of the buying process. That source inherently makes data more relevant because of its connection to revenue is clear.

Omnichannel is a focal point

Omnichannel (or really multichannel) is another key testing point of that understanding of the customer base. You’ll find in most industries that different companies are emphasizing different platforms. Some may be focused on mobile while others see a powerful social commerce opportunity.

The key is in the details, with a deep understanding of how customers are interacting with each platform at each stage of the buyers journey. With any business, there are tradeoffs to be made — and those come from identifying the critical capabilities that appeal to the most key customer segments.


Jul 24, 2014  
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