Archive for February, 2015

Delighting customers begins with discovering Value!

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by Bryan Weidner

In today’s crowded markets it can be difficult to differentiate your company from global competitors. Many business leaders have recognized the importance of customer experience as a means of differentiation. Creating an experience that is relevant, meaningful and delights begins with a commitment to understanding your customers. Quite often, companies don’t take the time to listen to what customers are anxious to share … what they truly Value. For successful companies, the focus on Value begins with actionable insights and remains a central thread as they look to deliver new solutions that drive market leadership and differentiation.

At flo, our Customer VALUE Framework helps companies gain an intimate understanding of their customers, exposing experience gaps that create opportunities to drive cross-functional change that is focused on delivering compelling customer Value.

Customer VALUE Framework

Delivering compelling Value…


As companies interact with customers to gain fresh insights, they need to ensure customer conversations include a focus on Value. This discovery helps companies map “Value Factors” that serve as guide posts as teams consider and prioritize new ideas and concepts. Often, companies invest in secondary research or conduct satisfaction surveys which don’t provide the vehicles for exposing these valuable insights.

Customer profiles and personas are a great way for companies to elicit customer characteristics, including what they Value. These qualitative approaches inform teams as they consider new concepts and solutions, keeping customer needs, wants and desires in view as they move new solutions through the many tradeoffs that often occur during design and delivery. Many new products and services that are intended to create an exciting new customer experience miss the mark as corporate teams get caught-up in the internal challenges of driving a new idea to market. Often, so many compromises have been made without the customer in mind that the new solutions no longer address the original Value Factors that were identified … one of the main reasons so many new offerings fail.

Have you made “Value” a focal point in your conversations with customers and within your teams? In most cases customers will not be able to tell you the new and different solutions they need, but they can tell you what they Value most in their day-to-day activities and experiences (or what they would like to see done differently to improve their experience).

A great way to become more focused on your customers and what they Value is to take the time to “askWHAT4”. As you start your day, as you begin meetings, as you think about new ideas, as you make decisions, as you design new solutions … “askWHAT4”.


Asking WHAT4 helps keep the customer top-of-mind as teams go about their day-to-day activities and will keep them focused on what customers Value.   Are you asking WHAT4 … do you know what your customers Value?

Case Study

We recently worked with a company that was trying to differentiate their solutions in an industry where offerings were becoming commoditized. The leadership team realized the importance of becoming more customer-focused and forming stronger relationships with their customers.

They had rarely interacted with their customers beyond account rep. visits or the occasional customer support call. We helped them establish new vehicles for proactively interacting with customers, capturing meaningful insights that provided fresh perspectives on who their customers were and what they Valued. We implemented customer journey maps and created profiles/personas that highlighted behaviors, attitudes, aspirations and Value. We found that customers were delighted to be participating in these conversations and were happy to share what they Value most in provider relationships and industry solutions.

The company used these new insights to help inform cross-business teams as they prioritized new change initiatives aimed at delivering increased Value and more compelling customer experiences. Teams were excited to be closer to the customer. This created a whole new atmosphere and environment … the beginnings of a “Customer” culture.   A number of new customer initiatives were launched that were focused on new policies, services and solutions that were designed to deliver exciting new customer experiences and Value. As teams measured the impact of some of these initial efforts, they found that both Satisfaction and Loyalty had improved … and stronger relationships had formed.

Is Customer-Centric right for your company?

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by Bryan Weidner No Comments

Most business leaders immediately set their sights on being Customer-Centric. This is a great aspiration but it’s important to understand what customer culture exists today and the business change required to reach your customer destination. Business success is often the result of being customer-focused (or Customer-Centric) and establishing an environment where team members are empathetic and passionate about delivering an exceptional customer experience.

One of the first steps that leaders need to take as they look to become more Customer-Centric is to discover where their business and organizations fall on the “Customer-Centricity Spectrum”. The Spectrum includes 5 categories of customer commitment, from business behaviors and attitudes considered “Customer-Hostile” to a “Customer-Centric” environment where customers are the center of daily discussions, decisions, priorities and measures.

Customer-Centricity Spectrum


Source: In Partnership with the Chip Bell Group

The “Centricity Spectrum” identifies customer-based attitudes and commitments within a business (i.e. Centric, Focused, Friendly, Aware and Hostile) and the customer relationships that result (i.e. Devoted, Loyal, Satisfied, Indifferent and Adverse).

As leaders look to discover where they are today, they need to have a clear understanding of the 5 spectrum categories and how their company’s day-to-day behaviors and attitudes map.  For example, here is a snapshot of what a “Customer-Centric” organization might look like:


  • Customer issues and priorities are the primary concern of all leaders
  • Every employee has a “line of sight” to external customers and is evaluated on contributions that support customer success
  • Customer-designed solutions, processes and communications
  • Customer feedback/input is constant, pervasive and viewed as crucial
  • Customer metrics drive the enterprise
  • Customer service shapes all recognition
  • Internal customer service is a matched set with external service
  • Customer-oriented behaviors and attitudes are critical hiring factors

Source: In Partnership with the Chip Bell Group

Current state insight is critical to setting your desired Customer Destination (or Vision), providing awareness as to what it will take to achieve your customer goals over a specific timeframe.   Customer-Centric may not be appropriate for your company today based on the amount of operational change and investment that may be required to reach this desired destination. However, there are valuable steps along the journey (moving to the left on the centricity spectrum) that you can take to help your business become more customer-focused and empathetic. Lasting customer relationships are achieved as you show a true interest in knowing your customers (their needs, wants and challenges) … and that you’re committed to their success. Where are you today on your journey to becoming a more Customer-Centric company? Do you know where you fall on the Customer-Centricity Spectrum?

Case Study

We recently worked with a company where the CEO was a very people-oriented and empathetic leader. He wanted his organization to reflect his concern for people and the customer … conversations focused on being Customer-Centric. He felt this level of customer commitment would build stronger customer relationships and help to differentiate the company.

After internal analysis, the executive team discovered that their current operations fell between Customer-Aware and Customer-Friendly on the Centricity Spectrum. Based on these insights, they considered the Customer Destination they could achieve over the course of a 3 year period. They found that setting their sights on “Centric” would prove to be too large of a leap from where they stood at the time (specifically, the operational change in behaviors and decision making and the associated cost). As a result, they set their sights on becoming Customer-Focused with the objective to continue to change the culture and over-time revisit the possibility of becoming Customer-Centric.

Being Customer-Focused was a big step forward for the company. Employees were enthusiastic and excited to be involved in customer experience activities that had them working together on setting their Customer Destination. They not only created “What” but “How”, establishing standards and norms (i.e. new behaviors and attitudes) aligned with being Customer-Focused. They set new customer-oriented goals and launched new initiatives to help change the culture and improve their focus on customer … employee morale improved, customer satisfaction increased and more customers were becoming advocates.