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Step 1: Connect your program to the business strategy

At our 2010 Walker Fall Forum, we asked clients to tackle common challenges for the customer strategist. One of the scenarios we covered was:

Our company has a regular process for strategic planning. However, we’re rarely asked for information to help guide this process. How can we make certain that the voice of the customer is included in the strategic planning process?

Does this sound familiar? If so, here is some of the advice from the group.

  • Connect results from your customer listening program to business outcomes. Generally, this involves some type of linkage exercise where you quantify the business impact of building customer loyalty.
  • Incorporate the voice of the customer program into the strategic planning framework. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including: adding the customer perspective to the dashboard or scorecard that is used for strategic planning, requiring at least one focus area to be customer specific, or suggesting the key performance indicator be a customer-focused metric.
  • Understanding how strategic planning occurs at all levels of the organization. This can help prioritize where to start and where the customer perspective will add the most value to the process.
  • Have data on hand and always be prepared. The action planning process is an ongoing activity. You never know when the information you have will come in handy. Leverage online dashboards and business intelligence platforms to help facilitate this activity.
  • Implement a closed-loop process as a part of your customer listening program. Having a closed-loop process, where action plans are communicated back to the customer, can help make strategic planning an ongoing process.

These items are generally easier said, than done. If that is the case for you and your business, start by connecting your program to business outcomes. This will demonstrate why building customer loyalty is a good business strategy.  

Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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