Customer Intimacy is one of the “Disciplines of Market Leaders” put forward by Michael Porter at Harvard in the 1980s and made popular by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their book “The Disciplines of Market Leaders.” It’s one of the three generic strategies at which organisations can excel to gain competitive advantage.
Many, many organisations lay claim to customer intimacy. Amazon wants to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” So what is it, exactly? And where does client feedback fit in?
Companies that excel in customer intimacy combine detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility so they can respond quickly to almost any need, from customizing a product to fulfilling special requests. As a consequence, they create tremendous customer loyalty.
That description starts with “detailed customer knowledge”. There’s a challenge for you. How detailed is your knowledge of your customers? Do you know what they would say if you asked them, “How do you see our relationship in two years’ time?” Or, “What one thing could we change to make our service to you really exceptional?”
If you’re not sure – you think you know, but you’re not sure – that’s where customer feedback comes in. Carefully framed questions, skilfully asked, helping you take your business strategy forward.
Oh – and if you are sure that you know, why not ask, just to see if you’re right?