Harvard Business Review Feature On Creating A Customer-Centered Organization

Harvard Business Review (HBR) is currently running a month-long feature on its blog called Creating a Customer-Centered Organization.  We’re thrilled that HBR is focusing on this topic, as it indicates that customer experience is finally rising to the attention of top business executives.

The HBR editors asked Forrester to contribute a couple of pieces to this feature based on our recent research, and we happily obliged.

My post, Focus on Your Customer’s Customer, looks at how B2B companies can be successful by taking a B2B2C approach. Here’s an excerpt: “Often, the best way for B2B companies to satisfy the multitude of business customers is to focus on the needs of their customers’ customers. That’s exactly what Portuguese airport operator ANA Aeroportos de Portugal did in its quest to attract more major airlines and connecting routes. To understand the work, first you need to understand an airport’s business model: Its real customer isn’t travelers, but the airlines that rent the gates and terminals, much like a mall owner leases space to retailers.”

My colleague Paul Hagen contributed a piece called The Rise of the Chief Customer Officer.  Here’s an excerpt: “The customer's voice has a new champion sitting at the highest levels of power in companies. Whether firms call the position Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or some other label, these individuals serve as top executives with the mandate and power to design, orchestrate, and improve customer experiences across the ever-more-complex range of customer interactions. The role exists in B2B and B2C firms as diverse as Allstate, Dunkin' Brands, USAA, Philips Electronics, FedEx, the Cleveland Clinic, and SAP. Who are these new customer experience executives — and why do companies appoint them?”

Please take a few minutes to check out all of the posts on customer-centricity over at blogs.hbr.org.


The Customer Experience - Can we accelerate its evolution?

Kerry, it’s great to see that you and Paul are contributing your expertise to the cause.

With customer-focus increasingly happening at the executive level, per Paul’s contribution, and with the sellers gaining a more precise view of customer needs via your recommended B2B2C approach, the Customer Experience will evolve for the better.

The question is how quickly can we accelerate the adoption of these ideas?

Or, do we have to be patient, while “Customer Experience Evolution” runs its course?

Thanks Kerry,
Jim Watson


hi Jim,

You raise a great question -- how quickly can we accelerate customer-centric thinking and behavior? (I don't think think either of us is going to be content siting around patiently!)

We need to continue to find new angles, new stories, and new ways to communicate the value of customer experience that will resonate with an ever widening group. For example, I'm hoping that the customer experience ecosystem framework I'm working on right now will resonate with people in companies who previously didn't see their connection to customer experience.

Got other ideas?? I'd love to hear them!