The Outside-In Corporation: How to Build a Customer-centric Organization for Breakthrough Results

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A model highlighting three important layers from both a consumer and an organization perspective. We identify these moments, touchpoints and needs by thoroughly mapping the customer journey. We can do this by starting from a blank sheet or by adding deep consumer understanding to existing internal customer journey frameworks. Too many companies suffer from having this blind spot, focusing too much on potentially irrelevant touchpoints. CASE How Gumtree went beyond its core value proposition eBay-owned classifieds website Gumtree wanted to grow within the automotive vertical.

The used-car purchasing journey was mapped based on consumer stories and experiences collected through the Gumtree research community.

Business Process & Customer Service Books – Recommended Reading

This The brand started supporting its customers by instilling a sense of confidence and security, and subsequently managed to grow their market share within the automotive vertical. Take a closer look at this electric drill - if you were the manufacturer of this drill, what would you do to improve the quality of the experience when using this drill? Consider the question carefully for a moment, your answers may be revealing. What does that mean for the creator of the drill?

We hope this example adequately highlights the issue - organizations have to be in tune with the needs of their customers. Ironically, many companies have a mature process in place to measure touchpoints on an ongoing basis, as well as to manage and improve their touchpoint satisfaction.

The Ultimate Customer Experience FAQ

And therein lies the conundrum:. These practices address the touchpoint performance rather than to understand your relevance at key moments in the customer journey. In the end, it makes for a conservative view, not at all in touch with your number one stakeholder: the customer. Or to stick with the cow analogy, even if you weigh a cow every hour, the numbers on the scale will not increase.

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On the contrary, trotting a cow on and off a scale every hour might even cause for it to lose weight. To fatten the cow, one must act and develop insights on the needs and behaviors that will make said cow gain weight. Over the years they have built a very mature customer satisfaction practice that was deeply embedded in the organization. Ongoing feedback loops were installed and targets were set on touchpoint satisfaction for internal teams, suppliers and partners. However, they noticed a declining impact of improvements of touchpoint satisfaction on actual business results; somehow, they were not managing the most relevant and effective element of their customer experience.

On the back of this, we were able to identify 36 different needs that customers experienced at various points in their proverbial and actual journey. From the earliest stage, consumers were requesting support to ensure that they made the right choice in terms of travel destination.

Once booked, their holiday being a few weeks or months away, they wanted to hold on to that feeling of excitement, to look forward to their journey. And finally, once they returned home, how could they best hold on to that holiday mood, when the holiday is over. These are a few needs that proved to be much more important for TUI to address, to dramatically improve the overall TUI experience. TUI realized that it is crucial to develop a superior understanding of their customers, but more importantly, to act and deliver on that superior understanding.

This case illustrates how TUI differentiated themselves from a customer experi-. With a new strategic ambition to transition from Payer - be there when things go wrong - to Partner - be there to help things go right - AXA has positioned itself as a brand that wants to go beyond purpose and become truly relevant in the life of its customer. This also embodies our company culture, which has made a small French mutual become a world leader in insurance. We already showed that it is critical to understand the moments of truth in the journey as well as the key needs and wants consumers may have in a category.

This is important to note because we not only have consumer needs within the traditional boundaries of a category, we also have myriad needs associated to the many and varied roles we adopt in life. As a brand, this means you have to exceed the boundaries of your category and become more meaningful in the lives of your consumers. That is why it is essential to stretch the model to shape the experiences that matter most in their lives, beyond specific moments, situations, or scenarios. Brands have to understand the consumer needs that trigger or surround their products and services.

The more brands are aware of the broader spectrum of needs and wants, the easier it becomes to create relevance beyond the typical buying and consumption moments. Being more relevant in the lives of their consumers ought to be a goal and achievable for most brands - just consider how popular detergent OMO switched their focus from promise to purpose and became FMCG giant Unilever has taken many of these learnings to heart, having taken the time to move all their brands from being promise-led to being purpose-led. One of their brands is the popular washing detergent, OMO.

The campaign was incredibly well received, not only for sharing a rather empowering message, but for creating more relevance in the lives of their consumers - loving parents that want the best for their kids. Over time, Unilever noted that all the brands that they had moved over to be purpose-led as opposed to promise-led tend to achieve greater financial and reputational results. They experienced greater brand growth and greater brand profitability.

For instance, if a customer wanted to buy a drill, the journey would start with a discovery phase - why do they need a drill.

Once the consumer is confident with their decision, they may buy the product and use it. If they run into any issues, they may seek support on how to best use the product. In the drill example, we can already identify several phases in a single customer journey. Jobs are functional activities along the customer journey. As another layer of intelligence, we can add the emotionality to each phase, and each Job To Be Done.

KLM wanted to identify the source of the issue as a starting point for the involved teams to take action. For this we engaged a group of frequent travelers and asked them to take us along on their transfer experiences. At any point they felt positive or negative related to transferring, they had to share their experience on the spot through pictures, video and providing context as to why it mattered.

Considering the transfer experience takes place in between flights, we mainly expected pictures of people in the airport, yet interestingly, we received Instead of improving existing on-the-ground touchpoints, it was evident that the more critical aspect was creating an improved experience on the inbound flight. They will also be notified in case of a cancelled or delayed onward flight which will cause missing the connecting flight. Whenever rebooking options are available, the passengers will be redirected to KLM.

This makes that we empower passengers to take control of their journey. The learning here is that as an organization, you create a culture and practice of consumer obsession. If we are obsessed with our customers, we are better able to identify the opportunities to add value at a micro- and macro-level.

It’s Time For A Lean and CI Reboot

We are better able to assist and guide them through each Job To Be Done, and each phase of their journey. When defining your Customer Experience program, you will eventually need a practice and process for detecting, innovating and implementing relevant experiences - and you have to be swift in your approach. Speed is key. The most cogent approach would be to install Service Design practices instead of the traditional stage gates processes and also apply these principles in your Customer Experience research program. But again, speed is key. Critical in a Customer Experience research program, or fundamental Service Design, to gain speed is adopting an outside-in view.


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An outside-in view helps address any potential issues. Improves the specific internal efficiencies that are known pain points when interacting with a customer. Let it come together with external and internal knowledge, to build even more powerful consumer journey maps. Having a truly outside-in view of your organization may also mean dissolving organizational silos, and the true promotion of cross-functional teams.

A cross-functional team may include several members of other parts of the organization, that specialize in different disciplines. The benefit of a cross-functional team is that this team of people brings their different functional experiences to the group to work towards a common goal.

So before talking to consumers, you leverage your existing knowledge. The second level of developing a sound Customer Experience Strategy highlights the essential need for mapping the customer journey beyond your own products or touchpoints ; from a truly human perspective we have to look at the different Jobs To Be Done our consumers have to complete within a category, and then prioritize these Jobs to best define the moments of truth.

Too many organizations sit on an idea for too long, only to be outperformed by a competitor that was faster to launch a version of their product to the market. BlackBerry is a sterling example of a business that sat on a great idea for too long, allowing competitors like Apple and Samsung to flood the market with iPhones and Android devices. We could write a whole bookzine on this topic alone! To win speed, you have to install the right culture; you have to start working cross-functionally and install that practice of experimentation - the organization needs to have the courage to develop and launch prototypes of these ideas, even if only to conduct further exploratory research and experimentation.

You win speed by rapid iterations in this experimentation process and by getting a product or service to market to test and improve. CASE How Induver installed a new digital strategy that guaranteed fast adoption and future-proof service levels Induver, a Belgian B2B insurance broker with a focus on medium-sized enterprises, wanted to prepare its team for a digital transformation process imperative for the industry.

As a starting point, we introduced and installed a human-centric approach, putting customers and employees at the core of the strategy. In line with service design principles, Induver developed a consumer-centric digital strategy consisting of parallel tracks, operating at different speeds. The perfect conditions to enter a new era fast! The Customer Experience Development phase is all about experimentation - employing iterative ideation, testing, and tracking processes in order to come up with market- potentially world first solutions and doing so quickly.

At the end of the Customer Experience research program roadmap, we have tracking. Tracking, when combined with the preceding phases, can become an invaluable problem-solving tool. How truly customer-centric research improved the customer experience at SkyTeam SkyTeam is a global airline alliance, consisting of 19 member airlines, each with their own strategies, processes and cultures.

Collectively, the alliance covers more than 1, destinations, which translates to 14, departures daily.


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In this complex, ever-changing environment, SkyTeam faces the ongoing challenge of trying to keep the customer at the center of their work. As part of the project, we created the means to track the experience of these high-value customers in real-time via a proprietary app; an innovative approach designed to evoke a feeling of customer-centricity through the research process. We understand that high-value customers often have limited time. As such, we decided to only deploy ultra-short micro surveys, and research participants only supply feedback on the touchpoints they actually experience.

Also among those that are most profitable, with the greatest cap value in their sector. Long ago, Socrates suggested that an unexamined life is not worth living. According to Plato, he was constantly checking in on what he thought and felt, and enjoyed nothing more than to goad others to do the same.

Corporate Information - Huawei

Hospitality-driven thinking is driven by a modern version of the Socratic method: How can I help others — especially my associates — to accelerate their personal growth and professional development? How can I add greater value to the companies entrusted to my care? How can I become a more gracious and a more generous host? And here are questions I ask myself several times a day: When with others, am I actively engaged or merely involved? After all, I have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth.

The Outside-In Corporation: How to Build a Customer-Centric Organization for Breakthrough Results

How do I make others feel about themselves? Tough questions need to be asked. Thank you.