Creating Customer Focused Teams, Part 1

What is a Customer Focused Team?

The word ‘team’ is overused in business; it gets applied to any group of humans in a work setting. However, when you define a team as everything, you end up with nothing.

The best and most concise definition for corporate teams I have found comes from The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith. They define a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” The crucial words are ‘common purpose’ and ‘mutually accountable.’ Without these, you don’t have a team.

[wcm_restrict]In addition, for a team to exist there has to be adversity, challenge and tension between the team and attaining a common purpose. No adversity and challenge means no team. You do not need teams for easy tasks. Tough challenges and high performance standards, such as those associated with customer service, quality and profitability are essential for teams to come together and coalesce. Having customers consistently be raving fans of the company’s service is certainly a challenging and lofty goal.

What is a Raving Fan Customer?

I first saw this term used in the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. A ‘raving fan customer’ is a customer that is excited about the company’s service delivery and product way beyond normal. Raving fan customers remain loyal given price pressure from a given service’s competition. These customers would go through a lot to get the company’s service. Even a price increase would keep these raving fans loyal buyers. Raving fan customers would wait in long lines; pay extra shipping fee; all for the service or product that their favorite company offers.

Why are Raving fans a good thing?

Ask Zappos, ask Southwest Airlines, ask Apple, ask Jimmie Buffett and ask CMI (that is us). What companies do not have competition? When you earn raving fan customers you have a strategic advantage over your competition. You have customers that are going to buy from you no matter what. In essence your company becomes a monopoly. This is the ultimate positioning from a business perspective. One frequently sees this with Apple’s iPhones. Apple customers are disdainful of any other smartphone product and are absolutely loyal to Apple – no matter what – even when Chinese workers might be suffering. Apple Customers say “Heck, Apple might need to change some Chinese employment tactics, but no way am I giving up my iPhone!”

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About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Bruce HodesSince growing up in his family’s boating business to founding his company CMI, Bruce Hodes has dedicated himself to helping companies grow by developing executive leadership teams, business leaders and executives into powerful performers. Bruce’s adaptable Breakthrough Strategic Business Planning methodology has been specifically designed for small-to-mid-sized companies and is especially valuable for family company challenges. In February of 2012 Bruce published his first book Front Line Heroes: Battling the business Tsunami by developing high performance organizations (Volume 1). With a background in psychotherapy, Hodes also has an MBA from Northwestern University and a Masters in Clinical Social Work. More info: [email protected], 800-883-7995,

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