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Achieving Deep Customer Focus

Today's managers acknowledge the importance of customer focus. Yet the costly customer efforts they usually implement rarely bring the promised gains. The reason? A superficial understanding of what customer focus really means. True customer focus involves comprehensive organizational change.

As Baxter Healthcare, LexisNexis, IBM and BP are learning, the kind of customer focus that creates an advantage competitors have great difficulty copying calls for companywide transformation. The author's in-depth research over many years shows how 10 breakthroughs in thinking, remarkably consistent across industries, improve growth and profitability more effectively than customer-relationship-management software, loyalty programs or satisfaction surveys.

She describes how, for example, the manager of Baxter Healthcare Corp. Germany got employees thinking of themselves as doing postoperative "home-recovery enhancement" instead of merely providing postoperative nutritional products to hospitals--and how that ultimately led to Baxter becoming indispensable to customers. When deep customer focus gets rooted in employee behavior, people at all levels become innovators.

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