How to become a "Customer-Led Company"

The core idea of the customer-led company is to focus on needs and not products. The central idea of marketing is that customers want to meet a need or solve a problem and not to buy a product.

The concept and why the different mind set
What is your operation now - Questions to ask yourself
Do you manufacture products and supply a service to a target market?
Do you supply a variety of products?
Do you sell your services so your clients buy from you?
Once your client gives you a job, do you work to that job?

“Selling tries to get the customer to want what the company has”
The whole focus is job / product orientated you only work on the job with out asking about the customer needs. For example you are manufacturing a automotive part and the client needs 100 units with in 3 days. The order is large and you have to assign a whole line to fulfill the order which you regularly do because he is an important client. A customer led company would spend a bit of time to ascertain the client specific need and find out that he requires 20 units a day to fulfill his overseas orders. With a bit of research the company could introduce a "Just in Time" order programme that would provide a solution to everyone's needs.

Business that are good at satisfying customer needs can grow and satisfy all concerned
Shareholders - value in company
Managers - pro-active instead of reactive
Customers - satisfaction
Employees - security
Creditors - high credit rating

A Customer-led Company
Marketing-led is to build a relationship to meet the customer needs.

“Marketing tries to get the company to produce what the customer wants and to meet a need and not buy a product”

The customer buys a benefit not a product. Eg. a lady will buy a new dress but she needs shoes to go with it, she will shop until the correct pair has been found - the benefit is a matching outfit.

How do you create a customer-led company
Work on the internal communications and relationship building within the company.
Training on customer needs and benefits to the customer.
Customer focus on everything you do - customer orientated.
You will create a differential advantage over your competitors.

If your service, friendliness, competent skills and quality is totally focused on the customer you will be like a shining beacon to your competitors.
To be cutomer-led you need to do some training and here is a guideline to follow.

Training Sessions for a Customer-led Company
1. Training Session - Forming The Vision and Mission Statements
A mission statement seeks to describe the purpose of a business and its essential character. Managers and staff need to buy into the firms vision and mission.
It has three functions;

  • Motivation of employees
  • A shared sense of purpose
  • Identifies major policies


The four components of a mission statement are;

  • Definition of a competitive scope - what is its business - Coca-Cola Head Office selling syrup to its bottling distributors. Honda the combustion engine.
  • Strategic intention - the vision, courage to be number 1
  • Competencies and competitive advantage - unique skills
  • Key stakeholders - who they are


2. Training Session - Employee altitudes

  • Employees - major asset to company
  • All employees are important to achieve goals
  • How do they feel about the company
  • Level of co-operation between departments or functions
  • Improving internal operations and enhancing performance
  • Invite suggestions and challenge for best suggestion
  • Employee incentives

3. Training Session - Customer analysis
If you lose a customer through poor service, or for any other reason a compounding effect takes place.
Not only have you lost R2 500 turnover per month but
R30 000 in a year and R90 000 over 3 years and that's
just one customer.
One satisfied customer will refer you to 3 to 5 other potential
customers but one dissatisfied customer will tell 10 to 15 people
not to use you.

How good is the company in satisfying the customer needs

  • Customers as assets
  • How to improve its services to customers
  • Making sure that the business is really selling what the customer wants to buy
  • Analyse products and after sales service
  • Who is your customers and who should it be
  • What customer segments should be targeted
  • Who makes the buying decisions
  • What do they buy
  • Where do they buy
  • When do they buy

4. Training Session - Competitive attitudes
Competitive environment and analysis of the changes in;

  • Technology - any new upgrades or advances
  • Demographics - population size, age, sex, occupations, income etc.
  • Culture - relationship internally and externally - black empowerment
  • Legislation - labour laws
  • Economy - interest rates, Rand exchange rate, petrol price

What makes you different from your competitors- areas to analyse
Quality , Relationship , Skills, Staff, Systems, Technology
Leadership, Price, Place - location, Promotion, Service

5. Training Session - Strategy development and Implementation
This a crucial part of the process. It involves positioning the company with the aim of obtaining high marks from customer scorecards. A positioning strategy has two components. The first is to obtain who the target market is and secondly to differentiate the business in the eyes of the customer to establish a preference.

A good way to implement the concept is through participation and belonging. Two tools are particular useful, a quality circle and a challenge.

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