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Press Release
September 2, 2009
Results Best Practices-for Executives
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For Immediate Release…

September 2, 2009

How Your Company Thinks About Customers Determines Your Revenue

A Big Lesson--from Zorro...

The article describes how a company of any size can create zealous customers by a simple yet thorough shift in mindset. It suggests that customers be treated not as "objects who buy," but as people. Treated like they're important, with emotional and other needs to be met and with long memories about bad and good experiences.

The article introduces what the author, Drew Morris, CEO of Great Numbers! LLC, calls, the Passion-in-Customers scale. It runs from "No way, now how" (will I ever buy from your company again), to zealot--people who just won't buy from anyone else and who'll sing your company's praises to any and all.

With an insight from the film, The Mask of Zorro, Morris suggests that a company can create zealots by shifting how it thinks about its customers--that it take the proactive position of being "for them." That is, to do something to enrich the customer, like teaching, protecting or enabling them, as the article describes.

One oft-cited example of working to improve customers' lives is A.G. Lafley's legacy at Proctor & Gamble, in which P&G's people actually live with consumers so they can observe their problems and challenges in P&G's product areas and help to craft appropriate solutions. P&G's and the other Web sites cited in the article show more examples.

Morris says that CEOs need to both make a decision that the company will actively work to enrich the customer, then get the company to sing in harmony to the customer, which is hard. The article shows the dissonance created when a company's best efforts to woo customers are nullified by poor product design, and planned obsolescence.

The article includes a graphic depicting the relative effectiveness of pitching to customers that a company views as "objects who buy," versus enriching the customer.

A number of household-name companies are mentioned in the article as good, and bad, examples.

You can find the article, from Chief Executive's July/August 2009 issue, on their Web site, and a PDF of it here.

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