Are Corporations Speeding Up “Adoption of Customer First” Strategies or Slowing Down?


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Think big business here. Five years ago we were extolling Amazon, Costco, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Trader Joe’s and a small circle of other large companies for putting customers first. Today, the list remains pretty much the same, except for perhaps deleting Amazon (for unfair labor practices and monopolistic business strategies) and adding Discount Tire. And some might even push SWA off the list for sacrificing on-time performance to buy AirTran.

Why aren’t we continually adding new names to the list? Is the list of nationally known names not growing? Or have we stopped recognizing new members of this still limited circle?

I’ll put in my two cents and express my fears that the former is the case. But I’d love to be contradicted.


  1. There are other large examplars, of course, like Wegmans and Baptist Health Care (both regional companies); but your point about actual customer-centric cultural adoption by major national and/or global companies is well-taken. What we’re seeing is greater awareness, and some positive movement in the form of targeted initiatives, by sizeable b2b and b2c companies that there is considerable value (profit, operational efficiency, employee effectiveness) by focusing more on customer experience optimization. Here are two examples from banking:

  2. Dick, we are in the days of customer wilderness. We know the customer is out there. We know he is important. But we are too tied up with our day to day task to become truly customer-centric.


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