Dick Lee

“Averaging” Customers – Necessary? Misleading? Or Both?

What's your knee-jerk reaction to hearing someone say, "our average customer?" Mine is to wince. Describing customers according to statistical averages – age, income, net worth, shopping trips per week, number of employees, annual revenues, number of vendors used for each purchase category...

Are We Witnessing the “Half-Life” of Customer-Centricity?

The optimist in me says, "Probably not." The realist in me suspects we are, for several reasons. -Customers were initially grateful that many companies appeared to be searching for comity. However, buyers now appear to be moving through this phase, which I call "play nice."...

Will Customer Change Force Process Change?

My quick answer to my own question is, "It better…and soon." Buyer-seller relations are rapidly evolving, putting buyers in the driver's seat held by sellers for decades. The consequences of "buyer power" include increasingly idiosyncratic customer behavior from customers wanting to do business "their way"...

Is Customer-Centricity Already Irrelevant?

I'm right now in the process of writing a full article on this topic, which is how I get to the bottom of perplexing questions. The article is far from done. In fact, I want to read portions of Doc Searl's excellent new...

Selective Customer-Centricity – Is Ikea Shooting Itself in the Foot?

Many in the group have commented about "what's customer-centric for one segment might not be for another." Perhaps the most commonly cited example is Ryan Air, which helps the knapsack crowd get around dirt cheap while utterly offending many suitcase carriers. Recently, I've run...

Customer-Centricity: Let’s Not Let the New Block Out the Old

In our rush to see business through customer-centric lenses, we have a tendency let go of some valuable product-centric insight. A past client that asked me to return for a new initiative just reminded me of the value in holding onto some "old" business...

A Compliment Where a Compliment is Due

I'm not shy about beating up on the likes of Best Buy, Wells Fargo & Intuit for horrible customer service. Enough so I really should compliment sellers for a job well done. The other day I went into my local Discount Tire store, without an...

Do Buyers Owe Sellers Anything?

How many times in your career have you heard, "Hey, we're doing blah blah blah for customers. Can't they cut us some slack? They can if they choose, but most customers choose not to show any consideration to sellers. After all, precious few sellers...

The Hazards of Heading a Customer-Centric Company

Last week I wrote about the difficulties Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn was having meeting customer expectations, which had been raised by previous CEO and visionary Brad Anderson, who retired. Today, Dunn is done. Victim of being a nuts and bolts operating manager for...

Best Buy – Too Much Space or Too Few Customers?

Best Buy just announced a plan to take out 50 stores, 400 HQ jobs and many thousands of store employees. They blame the need to scale down on overbuilding. I blame it on shabby treatment of customers that's driven buyers out the doors. Just several...

The Death of a Category – Coming Soon to Your Industry?

Have you ever watched an entire business category slide below the horizon? I first did while too young to understand what I was watching – as passenger and mixed passenger/freight railroads didn't make the bend. But even when I hit graduate school years later...

Squishing a Round Process Foot into a Square Technology Boot

While I don't want to sound like a process guy forever ragging on software companies, here we go again. After completing an enterprise process redesign; identifying explicit technology enablement requirements; conducting a search to find the best application fit (we will have to integrate...

Can Stressed Workers Put Customers First?

We all know from personal experience how this plays out on the customer front lines. You call Microsoft, Intuit, HP or whatever's customer support and get someone speaking a barely intelligible version of your language (if you're lucky). This person is obviously measured on...

Let’s be Charitable Toward Companies Trying to Be Customer-Centric

Over the holidays, several times I caught myself experiencing a knee-jerk negative reaction to less than customer-centric behavior by companies supposedly being among the customer-centric elite. For example, Southwest Airlines is vigorously opposing a proposed new FAA regulation mandating more rest for pilots between...

Exposing a Common Customer-centricity Misperception

I've read and heard many starry eyed, wistful, expressions binding employee-centricity to customer-centricity, and the corollary. It's a warm and fuzzy, feel-good thought. And it ain't true. For example, retail shoppers are getting more and more revved up about "Black Friday" (day after Thanksgiving...

More Companies Are Deigning Customer-Centric Business Strategies, But Then What

Although far from a majority, the percentage of companies with customer-centric strategies continues rising. But then what? Well, in so many cases what comes next is a major disconnect. Once the customer-centric intent is established, next should come customer-centric process redesign (including designing enabling...

Have consumers finally reached a breaking point?

Many (including myself) have prematurely predicted that consumers would express their anger at big banks with their feet – by fleeing to smaller banks and credit unions less inclined to gouge them. Having been wrong before, I won't make another prediction. But the number...

Is There Any Customer Worse Off than the Software Customer?

What could be worse than buying very expensive product that hugely affects your business success – from an industry misaligned with its customers? The realization is finally sinking in that process redesign and acquiring new technology – in that sequence – is really two phases...

Are Service & Production Quality Two Sides of the Same Coin? (be careful how...

I suspect most readers will instinctively answer, "No." Production quality refers to meeting a normative standard with as little deviation as possible. Service quality means meeting customer needs and expectations, which are all over the lot. So they're not only not two sides of...

Do Software Company Sales Methods Predict Post-Sale Service Levels?

As part of enabling new process for clients where we're replacing software E2E, I reviewed for clients on the net and through follow-up over 100 software systems and applications during Q2. Way more than enough to see clear seller patterns as well as assess...

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