What do you call this ‘customer’ stuff within your company?


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If you think about popular business trends of the past 20-30 years, they all ended up with a short label or TLA. Total Quality Management (TQM). Six Sigma. Business Process Reengineering. Management by Walking Around. Disruptive Innovation.

The ‘customer’ world I’ve been a part of the past nearly 2 decades has its fair share of buzzterms too. I’m not going to list them, because I’d like your help!

I have two simple questions for this Think Tank post:

1. Do you think that the following is an important business strategy? Yes or No.

Delivering value to customers that motivates them to be more loyal, and eventually creates value for the company and its stakeholders.

2. What do you personally call this when discussing at your company?

I’m looking for a short phrase, acronym, whatever term you actually use. Five words max.

I’d appreciate a response in the comments below, but if you’d like to answer anonymously, you can reply here.

So as not to influence responses with the early comments, I’m going to hold comments in moderation status for a few days until we have a good number to look at and discuss.



  1. Hello Bob.
    This is an interesting post and a good way to get my brain in gear first thing on a Monday!
    Yes, to the first question.
    Second question : “Focus on creating positive memories”.
    How I see it is this: it’s how people feel about their experiences that’s the key driver of loyalty and referrals. Creating a customer experience that results in a positive memory of that experience should be every businesses aim and this is as true for B2B as B2C.
    Sounds simple but of course it is anything but, especially when you take into consideration that it is a customers perception of his or her experience which influences how he or she feels and the memory created. These perceptions are not uniform across a range of people so this adds complexity.
    I could go on but suspect you are looking for the short version!
    Good luck with the research.

  2. The answer to 1 is yes.
    I would venture:
    Delivering Value
    Creating Value
    Creating Customer Value
    Customer Focused company
    Customer Centric company
    Customeric Company

  3. i actually don’t think #1 is a strategy, it should be a company mission. Strategies, in pure strategic planning, are the ‘how’ we’re going to achieve the ‘what’ of an objective which is measurable and time bound. As long as we view ‘customer’ as a strategy it will always be seen as a short term fix, thing, initiative, something that someone needs to do. Without customers there is no business, therefore the customer is the mission. Whether it is to build affordable housing or sell pears.

    I call it customer-alignment. customers own their experience, the company’s job is to align to their expectations (engagement, product, values, etc.) across all touch points, processes, and people in order to deliver that experience.

  4. Great question, Bob. I work with companies all over the world to achieve what you describe as a goal–loyal customers who contributed to bottom line worth and organizational worth. We use the label “customer experience strategy” to differentiate our particular work from a “service strategy” (like a price strategy or a brand strategy). Service focuses on both the outcome and the experience. Outcomes are typically quantitative–restoring my power, getting a bank statement without errors, landing the plane in the right city, etc. Experience covers more of the qualitative (and typically emotional) side of the customer encounter. Our work focuses on experiences far more than on outcomes. We do not give our work a catchy acronym. That decision came from a CEO who reminded me one day that customer experience is largely relational–much like a marriage. And, most marriages do not need acronyms to achieve harmony!! He even asked his senior leaders to stop talking in shorthand (like ROI, ROE, SOP) because it risked diluting the core meaning of the concepts…like Xmas. Hope this is helpful.

  5. For me, it’s SVC&S, Stakeholder Value Creation and Sustainability. If you consider the foundational goals of a customer-centric enterprise culture (and I’d almost prefer using the term ‘stakeholder-centric’, since the employees and suppliers are so important, and so frequently overlooked), they must include building a climate for personalized experience value for key stakeholder groups.

    And, once built (or rebuilt, as is often the case), that value has to be sustained through qualitative and dimensional, sensitive, actionable granular research and analysis. Lots of reference content could be added here, but you and many others are already aware of my perspectives on this subject.

  6. Here is the input from a web survey.

    Of the 9 responses, 100% said “yes” to Q1, but some added comments:
    * A key point was to also “create value” for the company (e.g. increases to shareholder / owner’s wealth and employee wages and salaries).
    * It has been key for us to focus on this to make it clear that “customer experience” is not about giving the customer everything they want.
    * I asked customers why they changed to my company and they explained that their incumbent stopped showing them the love. Value = unconditional love.

    As to what term people use, the answers were:
    * customer engagement
    * Loyalty and Customer strategy
    * Customer Experience
    * CX
    * Customer Appreciation
    * Customer Experience
    * Customeric
    * Love
    * customer-centricity

  7. And here are the answers from the CustomerThink LinkedIn Group:

    David Fish
    yes. I use CX as the broad term or CX Ecosystem when talking about systems to make it happen. Prior i used the term CEM, but since our company is now MaritzCX i figured i should adjust my nomenclature accordingly. Look forward to seeing the results!

    Jim Carras
    1 Yes
    2 Customer-Centric is the business transformation and Customer Value Creation is the vision/strategy.

    Marc Mandel, CCXP
    it depends. If from the outside in, I’d discuss the “customer experience” since it’s from their points of view. From the inside out, however I’d talk about “customer centricity” since it’s from the staff viewpoint.

  8. I agree 100% with Christine Crandell’s comment above.

    And the statement is true: “Delivering value to customers that motivates them to be more loyal, and eventually creates value for the company and its stakeholders.” This statement should inform enterprise strategy and all its subsets across the enterprise.

    I call it a customer-centered way of life.


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