Where to start when building a great customer centric business?


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Creative Commons License photo credit: Matt loves kicks

Last Thursday, I was in the midst of hosting RARE Forum, a new type of event that explored the over-arching theme ‘Business is Personal’. The audience was primarily made up of established SMEs and with the speakers they explored issues around:

  • Unearthing killer customer insights
  • Creating a customer centric business
  • The world is changing fast, how can we keep up and make change stick
  • Being a leader now
  • How Customers Can Rally Your Troops
  • Getting the most out of Gen Z and Gen Y; and
  • What will our customers want in the future?

It was the first time that I had ever organised such an event and the idea was spawned late last year on the back of writing my book, RARE Business, and my Three strategic pillars for 2011, which were Create, Curate and Community.

Suffice it to say that I was very nervous on the day. Bit like organising your own party where you wonder if anyone will show up and then spend the whole party running around taking care of people. So much so that you fail to enjoy the event yourself.

I am pleased to say that the attendance, participation, energy on the day and feedback have been great. Not perfect but I didn’t expect it to be first time out. But, overall, everyone that I have spoken to and the comments at the #rareforum hashtag are very positive.

On the day, some of the big themes were:

  • Using other people or lateral ‘experts’ as well as conflict can create amazing insight and fresh perspectives
  • How love is at the heart of a good business
  • How customer service is everybody’s job in a company
  • How a customer centric business is a profit centric business
  • How your customers can be the key to making your folk feel loved
  • How managing influence and engagement is the best way to manage change
  • How lifestyle and concern for their ‘life’ is way more important than wages to the younger generation; and
  • How future trends are dominated by collaboration, sharing, flexibility etc

At the heart of all of the themes, the talks, the discussions and the debate seemed to be the idea that better relationships between your customers and you, between you and your customers, and between your customers and your people etc etc is the route to a happy, thriving and growing business.

There was so much more to the day and the debate than I’ve been able to capture here and following this (shortly, I hope) we will produce a record of the day outlining the main points of the talks, the discussions and the main takeaways. Another ‘social object‘ for the event and the community. Watch this space for more details.

Back to the day. So, if relationships are the answer to a great customer and profit centric business, I guess my next question would be: where to start?

This question has been swirling around in my head in the aftermath of the event and all I could think about was a quote from Mother Theresa:

‘Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action’.

Maybe Vineet Nayar of HCL had it right that it should be Employees First and Customers Second. What do you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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