Customer Understanding by Annette Franz

This book is especially easy to read. Simple language, accessible concepts, great examples and well-structured content.

The book has 33 chapters. The ideas are brought to you in pills that are easy and quick to swallow.

It does bring some great insights and it breaks it down into short explanations of concepts.

The book is divided into 6 parts as shown below:

  • Building the business case:

In this section of the book Annette explains what CX is and discussed the nature of the Gap between the company’s perceptions about the quality of the experiences they deliver, and the reality perceived by the Customers. Believe me, the gap is huge. She also discusses what it takes to transform the organizations to put the Customer in the center of everything they do and what are the success factors of this transformation, namely:

    1. Executive Conviction;
    2. Culture;
    3. Mission, Vision, Purpose;
    4. Brand Promise;
    5. Leadership Alignment;
    6. CX Governance;
    7. Organization Adoption;
    8. Customer Understanding;
    9. Employee Experience;
    10. CX Vision and Strategy.

In this Section Annette also emphasizes that the Customer Understanding (Name of the Book) is the cornerstone of Customer Centricity. She also highlights that Customer Centricity happens by Design and the companies that are truly Customer Centric present important common characteristics, such as committed leadership, manage Customers personas, speak the Customer language, use Customer feedback to improve, have commitment to the Customer Success, walk in the Customers’ shoes, empower the frontline, present a Customer centric culture, has teams that understand their impact on the Customer Experience, design processes, products and services from the Customers’ perspective, measure what matter to the Customers, encourage innovation, recruit passionate people, have customer-driven values in their core values, train people to deliver to Customers Expectations, reward employee behaviours aligned with Customer centricity, have a C-level who champions the Customer across the entire organization and invest in the latest technologies to support and foster the delivery of great Customer Experiences.

  • Listen:

On this section, Annette says that for us to truly understand the Customer we must ask, but truly listen to the response. She also says that we cannot wait for the Customer to bring us feedback, but we need to go after it. We must get actionable data, analyze it for action, socialize insights to validate those, create action plans to implement improvements and monitor the outcomes.

  • Characterize:

On this section Annette talks about how to define personas that will best characterize the most important types of Customers to allow the development of solutions and Experiences that will address most of the different Customers needs and wants.

  • Empathize:

On this section she talks a lot about Customer Journey Mapping. She brings great insights about companies that believe they are doing the Experience mapping, but are only mapping the Customer life cycle, not considering how the Customer feels in each part of the journey. She talks about Touch Points, Moments of Truth, Interactions, and other related topics. Here she presents the 6 steps to take the company from mapping to outcomes, ie:

    1. Planning: identify the personas, outline the objectives of the mapping, the scope, the expected outcomes, the success metrics and identifying the participants of the exercise.
    2. Empathizing: run the exercise of mapping, considering what the Customers are doing, thinking and feeling, add data to identify the Moments of Truth.
    3. Identifying: identify and prioritize the Moments of Truth and do the route cause analysis of the issues found and create action plans, defining the people responsible for those actions to fix the gaps.
    4. Introspecting: based on all the learnings of the process, create a Service Blueprint that addresses all the Customers needs mapped out. Internalize all changes required to bring the new journey to come to life.
    5. Ideating: creating ideas of solutions that address each pain point and design the future state.
    6. Implementing: in this step the team must prototype solutions and test them to fail fast and improve quickly, so employees can be trained on the new way of doing things and close the loop with Customers to check on the success of the new experiences being delivered.
  • Workshops:

Here Annette explains how to conduct the mapping workshops in real life, discussing what comes before, during and after the workshops.

  • Parting Thoughts:

Here Annette closes by concluding that nothing changes if nothing changes and she sends an open letter to CEOs to explain the benefits of the transformation and finally she shares a few tools to help on this process, which can be found on the website .

As I mentioned before, this book is simple but very insightful and complete when it comes to the process of transformation to a truly Customer Centric organization. It is indeed worth reading.

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