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Strategic Customer Planning – Preventing Derailments

The metaphor of a road map is often used in strategic planning. In other words, you think about your strategy in terms of getting from point A to point B and you map it.

Actually, I think it’s more like a roller coaster.

On a roller coaster you’re still getting from the beginning to the end, but you must anticipate the ups and downs and twists and turns. In planning your customer strategy, I believe it is not only important to consider how to successfully reach the destination, but also to consider how to be ready for the turns and prevent being derailed.

When I was a child and our family would prepare for a summer vacation, we would think about all the things we wanted to do, and we would prepare. We would pack the appropriate clothing and prepare for all we needed to do on our list. But my parents also planned for what could go wrong. My dad would change the oil in the car to prevent breaking down. My mother would pack a box of medicine, just in case somebody felt ill on the trip.

I believe planning your customer strategy is similar. You can chart out your plan for what you want to achieve, but should also think about the following:

• What if there are unplanned budget cuts? How will you defend your strategy?
• What if there is a reorganization? How do you ensure your strategy sustains?
• What if a new senior leader arrives? How do you “resell” your strategy?
• What if team members are reassigned? How do you keep things moving?

Strategic planning is an art. In planning your customer strategy you need to consider all the ups and downs and twists and turns that can happen and consider how you are going to sustain the momentum to coast smoothly to the finish.

Patrick Gibbons
Principal, SVP

About the Author

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons

As Principal and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Walker, Gibbons has global responsibility for definition, branding, and promotion of the company and its solutions. Gibbons has published and/or contributed to a number of articles, papers, and blogs on customer intelligence topics and has a regular column in CRM Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at a wide range of conferences, and has produced a series of educational events for customer experience leaders.

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