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 an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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