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.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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