Using Employees to Build Market Place Foresight and Value Creation


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I talk to many companies about Customer Value, and Value Creation. And many say this is important. And many are ready to engage me.

What I find strange, is that these clients expect a magic wand. There is a wealth of data from front line people that they have. Is this data really sought out and collated in a systematic fashion? Is there a pro-active procedure to analyse this data and act on it?
Data is now being collected in a larger fashion and often analysis shows clues to future trends, or changes in the market place. If management is not willing to listen to expressed opinions, specific impending issues, the changing comments from the market place and customers, pending problems of customers and staff, will they really get to collecting data and even analysing it to predict future trends, problems and opportunities as seen from the eyes of the customer or channel partners in the market place? Will you be quick enough to respond, or will you be followers? Serious questions you have to ponder on.
The global trend is that more and more future thinking leaders are looking at collecting data and analysing it. And they realise the front-line people are a great source for such data. They have often an entirely different and actionable insight on customers. Often the front line people know why there is a problem whereas what the problem perception in the back-end of the company might be different. For example, bills may need to be corrected is the what of the problem, but the why of the problem may be the billing process itself, which front line people could educe. So correcting the bills is not really the long term solution.
This is what we call Value Creation: the smarts inside or inside intelligence, which we can use effectively. So set into motion such insight to build foresight by first recognising you have a pool of data collectors. Second, you should recognise that they may be reluctant to come forward, particularly when in the past they have been ignored. Then you have to find a process to get this information in house and analyse it and use it.
After you act on the data you got from them, you have to go back to the front line people and tell them how the data was used, and how problems were solved or forestalled. Reward them for their insight.
Lastly, this has to be on going because the culture of talking to each other, of capturing data has to be worked on. The customer successes have to be repeated over time through such analyses and prognosis, and actions. 
Reward employees and recognise them. Recognise you are at the start of a winning teamwork and spirit that can keep you ahead of the competition and have engaged employees. You will then also create value for your employees and your customers.
Zappos gives us some ideas on how to create value for employees. Zappos has a Vow! Employees program based around:
  • Understand What Your Employees Think And Want
  • Build A Trust Culture
  • Practice Open Communication
  • Provide Clear Career Paths
  • Demonstrate Appreciation For Contributions
  • Inspire Employees Beyond Turnover
  • Communicate Your Employee Focus
They also have special programs such as apprenticeships; new employee scavenger hunt; shadow programs where new employees shadow experienced one; Zappos $$$, where employees earn Zollars that are given to them by bosses and co employees, which they can use on internal programs; Grant a wish program, where co employees and the company can help out an employee; Co-worker bonus, where employees can give bonuses to co-worker through the company. All great ways to Create Value and engagement. Then employees are willing to openly talk about what the customer is saying and defend the customer, because there is a sense of belonging and trust, and customer data gets captured and used!
Your comments are welcome.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gautam Mahajan
Gautam Mahajan, President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global leader in Customer Value Management. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups. He is also the author of widely acclaimed books "Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success" and "Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking." He is Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value ( and runs the global conference on Creating Value (


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