12 questions to determine if you are a customer company

Not sure what a customer company is? Well it’s more than just having a loyalty program. It’s more than just over-servicing customers. Every business where they are a one person operation out a home office or a multi-national corporation will tell the world “sure we are a customer centric company.” But are you?

In today’s marketplace you must earn and keep the customer’s trust. So what, you say. Hasn’t that been the case in the history of business? That’s true.

So answer these questions because it will help you determine if you really do have a customer centric company or not.

Question 1. Do you often refer to your customer as an account or client?

Question 2. Do you know the name of every customer you have currently?

Question 3. Do you believe your customer is an equal to you or your company?

Question 4. Are your customers the center of your world?

Question 5. Are you available to your customer 24/7?

Question 6. Are you in the same place as your customer?

Question 7. Are you grateful for the business and do you show it with on-going special offers?

Question 8. Do you have on-going conversations with customers?

Question 9. Is your business part of a much larger connected community?

Question 10. Do you ensure that you keep your customer’s identity private?

Question 11. Are any of your customers evangelists for your business?

Question 12. Do you allow your employees to openly collaborate with customers?

The fact that we now live in a connected world customers are willing, and in many cases, encouraged to share information on their experience with a business.

I know this will seem like a stupid statement, but trust has become a much bigger factor than ever before. And, I say this because businesses were able to take short-cuts in the past with customer service or product quality because they knew customers were unable to speak to each other.

Do you remember the hard drive manufacturer who shipped bricks in pre-packaged boxes to customers because they ran out of product? Or the NFL expert or gambling insider who provides guaranteed locks for next Sunday’s games to one set of customer, while providing another set customers with different winners. In the end he at least satisfies half his customers.

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The ecosystem of customers, manufacturers, suppliers and service organizations have become a tight knit group that talk to each other on an on-going basis.

Here are four examples: Virgin Atlantic Airlines has removed all desks, offices and workstations and made all of its employees mobile with tablet devices running’s Chatter, a social media platform for business.

Running shoe maker Asics supports marathoners with shoe-chip technology than enables friends and family to track marathoners online.

Burberry’s store of the future in Chicago can stream live runway shows from its U.K. location. Company CEO Angela Ahrendts wants to make the online experience and the retail experience the same.

Recently Canadian Tire joined the Communitech technology hub in Waterloo, Ont., and will be equipping its staff with large tablet devices to provide information on products and services quicker to the in-store customer.

Do you want to be a customer company like Virgin, Asics, Burberry and Canadian Tire?

Maybe a better question is can you be a customer company?

One quick hit before I go. You can file this one away in the “Cold day in hell” section: Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona is joining the board of directors of NJOY Electronic Cigarettes.

Dr. Carmona has gone on record about the perils of second-hand smoke.

Dr. Carmona will provide strategic counsel to the company on public health and regulatory issues and spearhead NJOY’s research on the harm reduction potential of electronic cigarettes.

Dr. Carmona released this statement: “NJOY is a clear and responsible leader in the growing and important electronic cigarette industry and I have been impressed with their commitment to science. They have a clear vision of the importance that ongoing scientific dialogue and research will play in shaping the regulatory and public health landscape today and in the future. I believe that it is essential that we provide adult smokers with high-quality, innovative alternatives to traditional cigarettes. The current data indicate that electronic cigarettes may have a very meaningful harm reduction potential, and NJOY is committed to the further development of the science in this area. I look forward to working with NJOY in this important capacity.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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