Message from CCI President Craig Bailey
I invite you to join me at the upcoming 7th Annual Voice of the
Customer Conference, December 7-9th in San Francisco. This event, a
joint initiative between The Product Development & Management Association
(PDMA) and The Institute for International Research (IIR), will provide
guidance and lessons for gaining a clear and detailed understanding of
customer wants and needs. I will be presenting on the topic, "Leveraging
the Voice of the Customer to Maximize Business Results," where we will
share practical approaches for assimilating feedback from all customer
touch-points and learn how customer feedback is "most crucial" to
remaining competitive in this dynamic marketplace.
As a special offer, please mention the registration priority code:
SPKRM1639CB and receive a 15% discount off the standard conference fees.
To register, please call 888.670.8200, email
email@example.com, or visit the
Becoming Customer Centric - Obtain the Pulse of the
by Craig Bailey
In this edition of the
"Voice of the Customer" series, we will expand upon the topic of
"obtaining the pulse of the customer" by covering some of the most
appropriate ways to obtain customer input, perspective and feedback in
support of the VoC program. The following tools can all be used to better
understand the customer.
Survey the Customer – includes Transactional Surveys (to measure
customer satisfaction with their interactions with the company) and
Relationship Surveys (to measure the health of the overall relationship).
Interview the Customer – distinct from customer surveys, providing
qualitative rather than quantitative data; could occur within the context
of an Account Management program or a stand-alone Customer Pulsing
Obtain Input from Customer-Facing Personnel - involves active
dialog with customer-facing personnel (service and sales/account
management) about what they observe is working and not working as relates
to the customer's experience; requires an environment of trust for
providing constructive feedback, clear expectations with personnel about
what will result, and patience for wading through anecdotes.
Observe Customer Actions and Behavior – involves monitoring
customer activities and transactions, online and through direct
observation, to understand how easy it is for customers to do business
with the firm and to identify opportunities to better meet customer needs.
Mystery Shopping – involves role-playing the customer experience,
to truly walk in the customer's shoes.
Each of the above items can be performed individually or in various
combinations, depending on the unique needs and attributes of the firm and
its customer base. Additionally, a firm must acknowledge that each of its
customers has many faces. These faces include, but are not necessarily
The end-user of the product or service
- the personnel who most frequently interact with the firm on a
The business decision-maker
- the person who holds budgetary responsibility for the costs incurred
to obtain products/services from the firm.
The procurement function
- the organization within the customer's firm that often has a primary
goal of obtaining the best possible products and services at the lowest
As such, when measuring customer sentiment, it is critical to acknowledge
the differences between each face of the customer as relates to the
feedback received. That is, the feedback received should be taken in
context with the role played within the customer's firm.
In subsequent editions of the newsletter, we will drill down into each of
the above areas.
View previous articles in this series.
Data-Driven Operations - The DDO Framework
Joseph Prosser and David Osborn
the last article we described some of the challenges that we have seen in
network operations over the years. These challenges can be broken down
into three main categories: application-based, informational, and
procedural. All of them stem from having to maintain multiple
configurations across heterogeneous management systems. We also introduced
the methodology we call Data Driven Operations (DDO) as a solution
to these problems. In this article, we will go into detail on what DDO is
and how it addresses the challenges described above.
DDO utilizes a centralized data model combined with application and
validation gateways and automated workflow management. As we will
describe, a feedback-based system is created that can evolve and
continuously improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The centralized data model is typically stored on a relational database,
such as Oracle or PostgreSQL. What sets this apart from an asset-tracking
system is a specialized schema (group of tables & relationships) that
maintains information about the devices and how they are connected.
Another key aspect of this schema is that it should only store information
that can either be verified automatically or is relied upon by a business
process that would verify it. With an effective schema and reasonably
accurate data, the foundation is laid, upon which reliable gateways and
business processes can be built.
Business processes, within areas such as provisioning or engineering, are
responsible for entry into the data-store. Because this information is
automatically copied over to support applications, many errors in it are
noticed quickly. Accountability is improved since the change is directly
tied to one person's actions. Maximizing the reliance on this data may
seem counterintuitive, but this minimizes the cost of bad data by
minimizing the time to detection and correction.
Application gateways take the data and convert it into configuration for
the various systems in use. These include network and performance
management systems, trouble-ticketing systems, and DNS, among others. This
ensures a consistent view of the network and allows for easy correlation
of data across applications. Application gateways run on a periodic basis
to synchronize data from the data-store to each application and are the
first level of business process automation.
Although increased reliance detects many data errors, some critical pieces
of information are not utilized until a fault occurs. This is the worst
possible time. The validation gateway provides the final component
necessary to complete the feedback loop. The validation gateway queries
the network or other original data sources to determine if the information
in the data store is accurate. This can be used as a validation checkpoint
in business processes and to ensure that bad data doesn't propagate to
applications in the first place.
Extreme automation and integration with business process can reduce
operating expenses. DDO is a proven methodology to deploy this automation
incrementally while minimizing cost. In our next article, we will discuss
DDO deployment strategies.
View previous articles in this series.
+ Becoming Customer Centric
+ A Data-Driven Approach to IT Management
+ Recommended Reading
+ Speaking Engagements
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View previous newsletters
This week's recommended
reading comes from Fast Company magazine. In her article
Cuckoo for Customers, Alison Overholt presents a case-study of one
web-hosting company's "fanatical" approach to customer service.
President Craig Bailey
will be a speaker at PDMA's (Product Development and Management
Association) 7th Annual
"Voice of the
Customer" conference on December 7-10, 2004, in San Francisco CA.
Presentation materials will be available for download from CCI's website
closer to the conference date.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
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