At the Walker Spring Forum last month, we rolled out a framework for World Class Customer Listening. After several years of development, we have “cracked the code” on how to make positive things happen for a business by leveraging the voice of the customer. It is no longer a matter of us knowing what to do. We do know what to do. It is only a matter of commitment to do what it takes and that is why we have instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy for failure to take action.
One of the six cornerstones of our World Class Customer Listening Framework is “Validation”. To us, validation means that we can prove that positive customer relationships yield the kind of financial results we desire in the business. This is how we make our work relevant to senior executives. Through validation we can talk not about customer loyalty in terms of something warm and fuzzy, but as a solid business strategy. We can calculate the ROI on customer-focused initiatives. We can talk about what we do as customer advocates as not something extra to do, but as an essential element in the future of our company’s sustainability.
Ten years ago, creating the link between customer loyalty and financial outcomes was just a dream. We were pretty sure that it was logical—but we could not prove it. Today, not only can we prove it, but increasingly we can diagnose and predict how changes in customer relationships will affect those financial outcomes.
There are lots of excuses for why the validation can’t work but none of them are valid. All it requires is some initiative, discipline, and perseverance.
If you are running into any of these excuses in your environment, please contact us. We would love to help you overcome these and in the process, we will make customer listening a mission-critical aspect of your management information.
Originally posted in Customer Connection May 27, 2009