Words Of Wisdom: Babe Ruth On Customer-Centric DNA

Given the excitement around the World Series, it seems fitting to turn to a quote from Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth
(from mlb.com)

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

My take: Who knew that the Babe was a management guru?!? He was clearly foreshadowing the 3rd principle of Experience-Based Differentiation: Treat customer experience as a discipline, not a function.

I am starting to see more companies ask me how to develop a customer-centric DNA. That’s a great sign. It means that firms recognize that improving customer experience requires an enterprise-wide effort, not just some changes by a few front-line employees (see my post: My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free).

In a Forrester report that I wrote in March 2005 called The Customer Experience Value Chain, I said that Customer-Centric DNA consists of two elements:

  • Customer familiarity. Databases and spreadsheets don’t buy things – people do. That’s why firms must go beyond analytics to understand their target customers. A good practice: Use field research to observe how users engage with channels like Web sites, kiosks, or stores – asking probing questions to uncover what users are trying to do, how they’re trying to do it, and what they’re thinking about during the process.
  • Organizational engagement. Since internal alignment remains a critical challenge to improving customer experience, firms can’t just rely on the nebulous notion of “executive buy-in.” To create the change necessary across the company, firms need to engage in company-wide efforts that demonstrate a clear commitment to serving customer needs.

I think that is still a good way to think about Customer-Centric DNA.

The bottom line: Sometimes insight really does come out of the mouth of Babes.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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