Customer Power by David Swaddling & Charles Miller

by Paul Simister on November 15, 2011

Customer Power : How To Grow Sales And Profits In A Customer-Driven Marketplace is by David Swaddling and Charles Miller.

At the time of writing the book, they were President and Senior VP of Insight-MAS, a consulting firm specialising in the measurement and management of Customer Perceived Value.

I found their website when I became interested in customer value concepts and I used to enjoy receiving their monthly newsletter. I don’t know what happened to Insight-MAS but David Swaddling is currently Executive Professor at Capital University.

Customer Power Review

Customer Power by David Swaddling & Charles Miller

Focus On Customers and Buyers, and not Marketing and Sales

The Customer Power book starts off by posing the question, why write another book about customers when there are already more than 900 thousand in print.

I’ve always thought it ironic how few books there are about customers when it is customers who decide whether a business will be successful. Their vote (with their money) is the only one that matters.

I went to Amazon.com and typed customer into the search box and it came back with 37,828 items. I did the same with marketing and came back with 553,597 items. I did the same with sales and came back with 270,997.

The same test with buyer only came back with 17,046 items.

This to me shows why books like Customer Power are so important. If we want to attract and convert more customers (the purpose of marketing and sales), we need to think about and think like customers. For all the talk about being customer focused, the simple Amazon statistics show that the main focus is on what the selling business wants.

I’ve got a book to read and review called Stop Acting Like a Seller and Start Thinking Like a Buyer: Improve Sales Effectiveness by Helping Customers Buy. That title sums up the issue very well.

Rant over. I’d better get back to reviewing Customer Power.

Customer Power is split into three sections:

  • Understanding customer perceived value (chapters 1 to 3)
    .
  • Using customer perceived value (chapters 4 to 10)
    .
  • Listening for customer perceived value (chapters 11 and 12)

The individual chapter titles are:

  1. It’s the age of the customer
    .
  2. What is customer perceived value?
    .
  3. Delivering on CPV
    .
  4. CPV and business strategy
    .
  5. CPV and market segments
    .
  6. CPV and product innovation
    .
  7. CPV and pricing
    .
  8. CPV and channels
    .
  9. CPV and marketing communications
    .
  10. CPV and operations
    .
  11. Monitoring CPV
    .
  12. Payback on CPV

As you can see, Customer Power is a very broad review of customer perceived value and what it takes to implement an effective customer perceived value strategy.

Customer Power includes a look at the potential gaps in the customer perceived value cycle:

  • Research gap – the difference between customers perceptions and management assumptions
    .
  • Strategy gap – the difference between management assumptions and the goals, priorities and strategies of the business.
    .
  • Process gap – the difference between the goals, priorities and strategies and what the business processes consistently deliver
    .
  • Management gap – the difference between business processes and customer perceptions.

I think this is a very useful way to think about customer value issues, both why a thorough review is needed and as a guide to implementing a customer value strategy.

Overall Thoughts On Customer Power

If you are interested in using customer value concepts in your strategic management and planning, I recommend you read Customer Power.

It’s well written and will make you think about customer value in a comprehensive way so you can see where it needs to impact on your business.

Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps business owners to differentiate their businesses and develop winning strategies. Get your free copy of my ebook The Six Steps Profit Formula.

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customer power

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