How Have You Helped Your Customers Improve Their Outcomes?


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As we approach the end of the year, there’s always a huge intensity of activity.  A lot driven by the various holidays we celebrate, a lot driven by year end (or quarter end), and some driven by preparations for the new fiscal year.

It’s easy to lose focus on our customers.

But perhaps it’s worth a few minutes to reflect.  Perhaps even spending some time in review with them.

The key issue is, “How have you helped them improve their outcomes in the past year?”

At the core of everything we do, our success is measured less on achieving our sales numbers, but more on the results we’ve helped our customers achieve.

It’s important to both our customers and us, but too often we tend to forget about it–or we realize they haven’t achieve the outcomes expected.

This isn’t driven by some airy concept of customer-centricity, though that’s very nice.  These are really data driven, tough minded business discussions.

How have you helped your customers improve their outcomes?

Sure you may have gotten an order, but customers don’t buy just to buy.  They buy to achieve results.  Did they achieve them?

If they have, it’s a powerful conversation to remind them of what they have achieved and how you helped them.

If they haven’t, it’s a wake up call about a potentially unhappy customer, someone who will be unlikely want to do business with you in the future.

Take a few minutes, look at your major deals in the past year.  Has your customer achieved the goals (or is on track to achieving them) they expected?

Consider doing a brief review with your customer, it has several powerful impacts:

  1. You and they get to make sure  things stayed on target.
  2. The customer may have moved on, forgetting the success they achieved.  It’s a good time to reflect and remind them of your role in helping them achieve success.
  3. If things aren’t on target, you and they need to correct the situation.  They may be under intense pressure from their management, and your future relationship is at stake.
  4. It’s a good way to start exploring, “What’s next?”  They’ve been involved in their annual planning, they are looking to continually change and improve.  Leveraging the past success and looking into the coming year is a great way to start identifying new opportunities you can attack together.
  5. If they aren’t looking at what’s next, piggy backing off the past success, suggesting ways they might continue to drive positive business outcomes will get them thinking about new opportunities.

The end of a year, beginning of a new year is always a time where everyone both reflects on the past year and looks toward forward progress.  Engaging your customers in a review of the outcomes you have helped them achieve is an eye opening conversation for both of you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


  1. Hi Dave

    It has become trendy to talk about Customer Success Management. Whilst focusing on the success of customers – in terms of the outcomes they achieve – is obviously an important measure, we shouldn’t forget that outcomes are part of a larger family of related measures that are equally important:

    Inputs – measures the inputs into the process that creates the outputs used by customers. If you don’t measure inputs you can’t measure efficiency. The more outputs you get for given inputs, the more efficient the process.

    Process – measures the process that is used to convert the inputs into the outputs that customers get. If you don’t measure the process, it will be very hard to improve it in a structured way e.g. using Kaizen or other improvement tools.

    Outputs – measures the outputs produced by the process from the inputs. If you don’t measure outputs you can’t measure efficiency or effectiveness. The more outputs you want that you get as a proportion of the total outputs, the more effective the process.

    Outcomes – measures how well the outputs enable customers to get the results they want. Customers have jobs-to-be-done. Outcomes are how customers measure how well the jobs have been done. If you don’t measure outcomes you can’t measure effectiveness from the customer’s perspective.

    Impact – measures the impact of the inputs, process, outputs and outcomes on the success of the organisation. If you don’t measure impact (and its antecedents) you can’t measure and improve productivity.

    Outcomes are critical as part of any balanced scorecard of measures and have been neglected by companies for too long. But they only one of a series of measures that companies should measure, monitor and manage if they are to be successful.

    Graham Hill

  2. Graham, thanks for your detailed explanation of critical measures that might be included in a balanced scorecard. It’s an important discussion.

    You may have taken my use of the term “outcomes” a little too literally. I had intended the discussion to focus on the business results the customer has achieved as a result of implementing a solution.

    As part of any solution, we have to develop a business justification which includes the input, process, outputs, outcomes, and ultimately the impact.

    Perhaps, more correctly, the article might have been titled, “How have you helped your customer achieve the impact they desired from the solution.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion.


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