2 Critical Books; YPOer Mark Aesch; Save Your City
February 1, 2011
Pie a Senior Guy; Winner in India; Need a President; Australia Growth Summit
February 10, 2011

3 Classic Mistakes; Would You Do This; No Internal Customers; Tom Peters

  "…keeping you great"

HEADLINES: (Happy Chinese New Year!)
3 Classic Customer Mistakes — my latest Growth Guy syndicated column entitled "Sharpen Your Customer Focus" highlights three classic mistakes business leaders make when thinking about their customer:

1.        Incorrectly defining their CORE customer

2.        Misusing the term "internal customer" (no such thing!)

3.        Failing to understand how well-informed customers are today

The multi-award winning luxury homebuilder and remodeler, DC-based BOWA, is the main case study of the column. BTW, BOWA's fourth-quarter leads were up 30% after redefining their core customer. Take four minutes to learn from one of the best run firms in their (tough) industry.

No Such Thing as an Internal Customer — I may be alone in this thought, but the word "customer" must be held sacred and reserved for the end user of your product or service. Call everyone else between you and the customer what they are: distributors, purchasing agents, decision-makers, sales support – but don't refer to them as a customer, otherwise the entire organization begins to lose focus on why you're in business in the first place. More on the dangers of using the term "internal customer" in my latest column.

Best Customer Centric Contact Page — Howard Fleischmann, owner of 20-year old Community Tire and Auto Repair, emailed me to sign up for my insights. Intrigued by how he signed his note "Always Positive," I checked out his website and where he was based. That led me to his contact landing page where he not only provides his cell phone number but notes "If all else fails, my home number is …." Now that is customer responsiveness. Here's a link to his contact page.

Best Thing We Did for Customers — I'm surprised more companies haven't employed "web greeters" on their websites. We still receive kudos regularly for having people instantly available to help a customer find something on our website or get a question answered (hope you all see it as helpful and not intrusive). And it's very inexpensive – just over a dollar per "chat." FYI, we've been using a company called LiveAdmins and their WebGreeter service for years and have had zero problems.

Tom Peters on Customerstake one minute and scan these two pages summarizing Tom Peters' actionable ideas about customers. As leaders, ideas are the main thing we provide our companies. That's why I'm ALWAYS jazzed to spend a few hours listening to uber-guru Tom Peters (at our upcoming Growth Summit in Sydney Feb 15 – 16 — keynote and half-day workshop). Hope to see all my insight readers in Sydney in a couple weeks.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.