Posted by Julie M. Katz on April 11, 2007
Gary Skidmore, Corporate Officer and Executive Vice President at Harte-Hanks shared some tangible examples of companies that embody customer centricity. Skidmore emphasized that companies should make their customers "fanatical" about their brands. Whose customers are fanatical? Starbucks: customers, who are treated as individuals with the ability to customize their drink orders, were in a tizzy over the company's Make It Your Drink promotion where they could get their drink order printed on a custome T-shirt. Apple: iTunes users also thrive on customization. Like custom-designed snowflakes, no two playlists are the same, and Skidmore treasures the playlist his daughters created for him. But customization isn't the only way to put customers in the driver's seat. How else then? Skidmore showed that focusing on employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction. Companies like Google that almost overindulge their employees, Cabelas that let employees borrow the sporting equipment they sell so they better understand customer experience, and Four Seasons that have employees stay and dine at their properties to live the customer experience figured out that it's not just a prerequisite for the CEO to buy-in to customer service but that every member of the company must be involved as well.