Five Tools for Modern Customer Business


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Bernard of EvenBetterYet responded to an earlier post on Seth Godin the ideas man. Bernard suggested that Seth Godin, perhaps unwittingly, refers to Lean Thinking in a number of his posts. Not by name as such, but in describing a customer-driven approach to business.

I find that lean thinking sits at the heart of much of what we do in modern business. Lean thinking provides an approach centred on customers, giving them what they value and making it as easy to do as possible. In addition, lean thinking provides probably the best way to look at how the process of delivering value can be optimised in a flexible way. Perhaps that is part of the reason why Toyota regularly tops the satisfaction charts across the world and is now the biggest auto manufacturer in the world.

Lean thinking is just one of five core tools I regularly use and recommend in my customer business consulting and interim work. The tools answer five core questions:

What do Customers Value?
To understand the value customers are looking for (in terms of jobs and outcomes), the Strategyn Outcome-driven Innovation approach is probably the best. As I posted earlier, the outcome-driven innovation looks beyond the difficult concepts of needs, wants & expectations, at the jobs customers are trying to do and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. These are the foundation of practical customer-driven business.

How do We Deliver Value for Customers?
To understand how we best organise ourselves to deliver that value, Womack & Jones’ Lean Consumption approach is the best. Lean consumption takes the understanding of customer jobs & outcomes and looks at how they want to do them, when they want to do them and how they want to do them. And the lean thinking that sits behind it looks at the most effective way to deliver value through the jobs & outcomes.

How do We Make Money Doing It?
And to understand how doing this created economic value, Value Driver Analysis is the best approach. Delivering value to customers is all well and good, but doing it profitably is the key to long-term business success. Value driver analysis takes the jobs & outcomes and the lean delivery system, and looks at the costs and revenues associated with the value delivery process. This understanding is critical if limited resources are to be used to optimal effect.

Together, the three tools provide a framework to think about how we do basic customer business.

How do We Knit It All Together into a Superior Customer Experience?
To knit all three together into a coherent, end-to-end customer experience, Berndt Schmitt’s Customer Experience Management approach is the best. Scmitt’s approach is based upon years of research in experiential marketing. It takes the priority touchpoints identified by the first three tools and stitches them together into an end-to-end experience that pulls the right emotional, cognitive and activity levers in customers.

How does this Create Experiential Brands?
And finally, to understand how delivering a superior customer experience over time creates an experiential brand, Kevin Lane Keller’s Customer-driven Brands approach is the best. The majority of brands are largely experiential. You develop feelings about what the brands means to you only after repeatedly using them. The Brand Report Card allows you to look at how successfully you have integrated the other four tools in creating an experiantial brand. And how the brand sustains business success.

Like all consultants and interim managers, I have pulled together this toolkit over the past 20-years as representing the best that is available to me to solve real-world customer problems. Non of the tools are rocket-science and all of them are described in detail in books, articles and on the Internet. Togther, they work provide a foundation for modern customer business.

What do you think? Do the business tools you use put customers at the heart of your business? Or are your produicts really that good?

Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill

Graham Hill (Dr G)
Business Troubleshooter | Questioning | Thoughtful | Industrious | Opinions my own | Connect with me on LinkedIn


  1. From personal experience, good service and high quality standards of products go hand in hand. That would make a customer satisfied.


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