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No Excuses Part V: For the Best Action, Take Customer Advocacy to the most Senior Executives

In the course of my career, I have had the pleasure to meet with many senior leadership teams and talk about how their customer relationships interact and impact their business results. It seems to happen more and more often and that is a good thing for our business—and our clients too. I’ve been on a role lately having done three of them in a relatively short period of time. I just wish I could do two or three every week.

It is always a positive experience, not only for our company, but for the clients too—both the senior leaders and our customer advocates. We add more value to our clients business. The senior management gains insight into the customer. And, our customer advocates’ roles become more important moving forward.

I can make three generalizations about the senior executive meetings I have attended:

1. We “zero-in” on a few key aspects and to the “bottom line” in short order.
2. The information is received incredibly well.
3. A call for action always occurs.

My take on this is that good executives are more worried about what they don’t know than what they already know. It is the nature of the successful executive to continuously be improving all aspects and systems within the business. In order to do that, one must be taking in multiple sources of input—both old and new—and integrating that information into other things that are known.

Senior executives seem to have a real appetite for customer feedback and quickly relate it to other things going on in the business. They relish the opportunity to collaborate on the interpretation and outcomes. They don’t get hung up with contradictions or ambiguity that is inherently found in customer relationship information and are not particularly sensitive to less than favorable news. To paraphrase an old saying, “they seem to enjoy finding something to be paranoid about.”

If you want your company acting on customer information—it’s always easier if it starts from the top. If your senior execs aren’t reviewing the information, implications, and action plans at least annually (semi-annually or quarterly is preferred), make a commitment and make it happen. You won’t be sorry and your stock in the company will rise. If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask. Like I said, I wish I did it two or three times every week.

Originally posted in Customer Connection June 10, 2009.

About the Author

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

As the third generation of Walkers to lead the privately-held research and consulting firm, Steve is focused on creating shareholder value for Walker’s clients through customer intelligence and customer strategies. Steve was named president of Walker in 1994 and added the CEO title in 1996. Then, in 2006, Steve was named chairman of the board.

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