Book review: kloteklanten 3.0 --> Damn those Customers 3.0 --> how do you become the most customer friendly organisation?

Usually I post screenshots and short summary's of books I read here at this blog, just for my own convenience, if I need to review something I can quickly find the things I need. Of course if I like these reads, others might also find it useful so that's also why I share it.

Sometimes I make extensive summary's and sometimes just some "picture screenshots".

Currently I am reading the book "Kloteklanten 3.0" roughly translated as 'Damn those customers 3.0" written by Egbert Jan van Bel, the author also lectures at Beeckestijn Business School and he has inspired me a lot when I attended his classes a few years ago.

Don't be fooled by the title of the book. It is a real inspirational book about customer centricity.
The subtitle of the book is: how to become the most customer friendly business of the Netherlands.

The book is in Dutch, and as I usually write in English at this blog, I will roughly translate some pages since this is a good book for everybody who believes in customer centricity, customer experience and a new way of marketing.

Did you already make a strategic description of your customer?

The customer definiton framework:

Roughly translated:
  1. Is someone buying regularly with you? If someone just buys one time, it is not a customer but someone just passing by. 
  2. does the customer pay you, and does he/she pays in time? If not it is a bad debt customer and it cannot be an active customer.
  3. Do you make the desired profit margin per customer? If you want to achieve 10 % margin but a customer that regularly buys with you, only gives you 5%, also then it is not a customer, but a prospect and your effort should be to grow this customer from 5 to 10 %.
  4. Is a customer recommending you? What are you doing to help your customers to recommend you? And who is doing this actively?

Short term or long term?

    Roughly translated:

    Most organisations in the Netherlands are market oriented. The most important question at sales meetings is :
    How many customer did you get today? These models used, are from the 70's, 80's and 90's at the very best. Communication is mainly "push" focused.
    The question should be: how much engagement did you realize today, is never asked.

    The long term commercial strategy is under pressure due to the short term focus.
    Marketing must do again what it started with back in the old days: creating a difference.
    Only this time not at product level, but at the level of satisfaction/need.
    Because with that, you create value for a customer.

    Basic conditions for customer centricity:

    Roughly translated:
    1. Make sure customers can contact you easily
    2. Admit mistakes and solve them (and solve them for all customers)
    3. Keep your promises
    4. Don't do difficult about formalities
    5. Don't contact your customers unnecessary
    But there is a fifth rule and this is emotion. The author discovered this after thorough research.
    It is not operational excellence, or product leadership or customer intimacy but it is AND.
    Making a difference at the first 5 rules is getting increasingly difficult, they are more or less basics now. Focus at the 5th rule, emotion.

    8 Tips to centralize your customers within your company:

    Roughly translated:
    1. A vision with importance to the customer. Is your vision inspiring for employees, board, customers and the general public?
    2. Leadership: practice what you preach. Also the top of the organisation has to be close to the end customer. 
    3. The right culture. Culture can be created. Do you celebrate the highest sales record or the highest NPS score you achieved this year? Don't overdue in rules. 
    4. Employees, the key to success: the employees are key to keeping up the promises to the customers. Coach them, empower them and train them continously.
    5. Proposition: as fast as possible make as much profit as possible. This is no longer valid. The most important part is the added value for the customer.  Use Design Thinking, or connect and inspire.
    6. Always improve the customer journey. It is not only about processes and tooling. Think from a customer. 
    7. Use big data. The challenge is in using data to learn more about your customers. Think beyond customer data but also think of employee data.
    8. Daily evaluation of all employees but take a close look at the story's behind the numbers.

    Interview section:

    The book also has lot's of interviews with some of the best customer centric ceo's, managers and inspirators. I will not write down all of those interviews, but just a few highlights:

    IKEA's global marketing and communication manager is interviewed:

    A few of IKEA's marketing principles (more are mentioned in the book).
    • As a marketer, get behind your desk and visit people at home. At IKEA every year more then one thausant visits to real customers at home are done to get insights.
    • Curiosity is what thrives me. Read a lot, stay hungry, stay foolish. Pay attention when you hire new collegues to the mentality it is more important then experience.
    • Big data is heavy. Ask the data analysts not only for data but also for advice.
    • Focus at a few things and do them very well, instead of small improvements. Start with the question: what is news? What will people share and tell about?
    Landal's former commercial director:

    "If you want to be customer centric, hire people with the customer centricity gen. Don't overdo, because that is also not good. But it is essential to achieve the right culture to hire the right people. It is good to hire more people managers and people with social antenna's in the board room".


    Simyo's (most customer friendly company of the Netherlands in 2016) walls are decorated with many post-it's. The so called "wall of change". Many suggestions, complaints and ideas's bring the customer inside the organisation.

    In the picture you see the customer feebdack sections hang at the wall they are divided in:

    • We want to do
    • We work at
    • We did
    • Impossible to do

    At Simyo every email that is sent via the customer service team, is handwritten/typed. They do not use templates. It takes longer to write, but it emphasis the personal relationship with the customer.

    Also very interesting to read that at Simyo the commercial emails, are first tested by "real customers". Customers give feedback at those emails, not the marketing team.
    Only when the "customer test"is succesful and there are no "hidden messages" the email is sent out to the total database.

    So far for the screenshots and translations. The book ïs a very nice to read book and inspires a lot, very useful at both strategic and tactical level. Unfortunately it is only available in Dutch. 

    I will end with a rhyme  also mentioned in the book:

    "Winst is de resultante, van waardecreatie bij je klanten."

    Now let me see how to translate this:

    "Profit is the result of adding value at your customers".

    Translating it in rhyme is more difficult. So I just make it simple:

    "Profit is the result of adding value at your customers, got it"?

    Now it rhymes...:)

    Next book review I will write more again.
    I will now start reading the book "The Agile Way




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