VoC Presentation Available for Download
Craig Bailey's presentation at the 7th Annual Voice of the Customer
is available on the Customer Centricity
here to download the presentation.
Becoming Customer Centric - Observe Customer
Actions and Behaviors
We continue our series
on leveraging the Voice of the Customer as a key element to
becoming customer centric with a discussion of the next aspect within the
step of "obtaining the pulse of the customer": Observing customer actions
Observing customer behavior, which can involve monitoring activities and
transactions online or through direct observation, is one of the
"indirect" approaches to understanding customer sentiment as relates to
their experience with the firm. It should not be confused with analyzing
purchasing behavior (which will be discussed in a subsequent newsletter
edition). Instead, it involves assessing the customers' experiences in
How easy it is for the customer to do business with
Identifying barriers to doing business
Identifying opportunities to better meet customer
needs (including common cross-sell and up-sell opportunities)
How easy it is
for the customer to do business with the firm
Most web reporting software has some form of visitor tracking. Reviewing
customer navigation records and reviewing click-through paths can point to
web site areas which cause customers confusion or otherwise create a
perception of being difficult to do business with.
Along these same lines, direct observation of customer interaction
(including listening to or viewing recorded tapes, or listening in on live
calls) provides the opportunity to witness non-verbal communication, such
as smiles, head shakes or sighs. These non-verbal cues can say far more
than the customer is actually speaking regarding ease of doing business.
Identifying barriers to doing business
Noting observations which characterize a company as being difficult to do
business with provides the opportunity to identify specific barriers. For
example, are customers being required to log in twice, double enter
information or read fine print? These types of nuisances, which may be
viewed as minor internally, can translate into barriers as perceived by
the customer. Essentially, it is important to identify each step that a
customer must take to purchase a product or service and eliminate those
that add no value to the customer and/or create a barrier to them doing
business with the firm.
Identifying opportunities to better meet customer needs
By watching customer activity (including non-verbal actions), listening to
what customers are saying (including tone, demeanor, etc…) and reviewing
the individual circumstances, you are generating a blueprint to better
meet their needs. Additionally, such observations lead to natural
opportunities for cross and up-selling that may become a standard part of
customer-facing training programs.
In our next edition we will present our fifth and final approach for
"obtaining the pulse of the customer" and in subsequent editions we will
discuss how to take appropriate and responsive action.
View previous articles in this series.
Supply Chain Synchronization - Adding
Business Priorities to the Planning Process
Peter E. Ventola
Now that your company has invested in the latest software and your staff
has been trained in best practices in your industry, do you still hear
From Business Management: "Our on-time service is
From Manufacturing: "Sales makes unrealistic
From Sales: "Manufacturing ignores our most profitable
From Supply Chain: "Sales demand forecast is not
From Customers: "My order is always late"
The answer may be
that your functions are not aligned around the franchise customers and
products that are critical to ongoing success. Instead, the supply chain
may be focused on historic data and may not have enough business context
built into their process. A focus on "Where you've been" vs. "Where you
are going" can be a root cause of misalignment.
While some business areas are focused on the predictable demand, sales and
marketing are often focused on the unknown; these show up as new business
opportunities. These new opportunities may involve new prospects or new
product offerings to existing customers. Without an alignment process in
place, these opportunities will always appear as disruptions to the supply
Finding your "Franchise" Customers and Products
Customer segmentation is a common practice, allowing companies to invest
different levels of resources commensurate with customer "importance." For
example, customers might be segmented into the following categories:
Franchise, Bread & Butter, Nice to Have, Dogs.
Though most organizations are familiar with customer prioritization, few
combine this with a prioritization of products as well. There are always
products that manufacturing prefers to make; these usually provide high
capacity utilization. Conversely, there are always products that marketing
prefers to sell; these usually provide a high profit margin (and low
capacity utilization). Implementing a process that finds the right balance
Use Quantitative AND Qualitative Criteria
Most organizations use total profit margin to prioritize customers; many
forget to look at profit margin per unit as well. You may find that you
are turning away some of your most profitable orders and ignoring small,
but potentially profitable customers.
What is a good measure for prioritizing products? I suggest a measure that
incorporates both cost and profit, like profit contribution/per
manufacturing line/per day. Finance should be involved with this measure
to ensure that costs are spread equally across manufacturing units. In
captital intensive industries, a measure that uses only variable
manufacturing costs may be preferred, for example.
Another critical point is to use qualitative criteria along with numeric
data to rank your customers and products. What are the top ten attributes
for desirable customers? How would you weight these attributes? What
product attributes fit well with your capabilities? These attributes can
be unique to your business and market.
In the next article, I will present a Service Matrix that allows you to
utilize your customer segmentation and product prioritization to segment
and manage your service capacity.
+ Becoming Customer Centric
+ Recommended Reading
+ Supply Chain Synchronization
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View previous newsletters
This week we recommend an article from CRM Magazine on the topic of
maximizing the effectiveness of your CRM initiatives with quality data.
Shielding your CRM Initiative from Bad Data by Tony Fisher presents a
5-step process for eliminating the systemic problem of bad data, thereby
allowing your CRM initiative to achieve its full potential.
Happy New Year!
CCI wishes you and your
families a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
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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