In 2000, when companies across the globe were scrambling to decode and implement the enigmatic new business strategy "Customer Relationship Management" (CRM), I had already spent a decade reengineering businesses to integrate this breakthrough structure into their DNA. Buzzwords come and go, but when one of them promises to build shareholder value by driving customer acquisition, retention and profitability to unprecedented levels across the enterprise, business leaders latch on. And they did.
In a piece I wrote that March for Customer Interface Magazine entitled The Value of Long Engagements, on what would later become Customer Experience Management, I took a back-to-basics approach and refocused the buzz on the customer as partner. From partnership springs loyalty, retention, rising lifetime value and, consequently, shareholder value. Start driving cross-functional process changes to align business processes around the customer and you'll be headed in the right direction. Easier said than done, or I wouldn't have seen the need to write my book Upgrading the Customer Matrix a decade later in 2010.
Today, with more than twenty years of experience as Chief Customer Officer and Marketing Operations Turnaround Leader under my belt, I am helping companies supercharge profitable growth as a management advisor, board director and private investor. The low-hanging fruit is long gone. What's left are the hard problems to solve caused by shaky foundations, rapid growth and antiquated business processes.
For turnaround leaders like me, this is the really fun stuff.