Customer Connections: New Strategies for Growth. Robert E. Wayland, Paul M. Cole. Harvard Business Review Press.

Customer Connections: New Strategies for Growth Book Cover Customer Connections: New Strategies for Growth
Robert E. Wayland, Paul M. Cole
Harvard Business Review Press
September 1, 1997

With this book, managers have a new strategic framework for making explicit connections between what they know about their customers and how they can leverage that information to create value. The authors reveal a comprehensive system that places customer relationships at the center of your business and shows you how to use this system to discover and tap new sources of value to improve your firm’s profitability and growth.

Customer Connections is full of fresh, practical examples of companies – including ScrubaDub car wash, Inc. magazine, United Parcel Service, MCI Communications, and Wachovia Bank – that have creatively used information and knowledge management technologies to connect with their customers in new ways. It unveils a model for fostering collaboration and playing the right role in supply and demand chains, and gives you the tools for building a strategy based on the four key drivers of customer portfolio value: choosing the customers you want, selecting what you want to offer, deciding what role you should play in meeting their needs, and working together to create mutual value.

Wayland and Cole show you how to ask – an act on – the right questions about generating and managing customer knowledge, using connecting technologies, and understanding customer economics in order to assess your firm’s current position and determine its ability to capture customer value in the future.

  • Do you know the value of your customer relationship portfolio and manage it to maximize firm value?
  • How can connecting technology be used to collaborate with or learn from your buyers?
  • What are the major determinants of supply or value to your customers? Are they the same across all customers?
  • Are there opportunities to redesign your product to capture value from another part of the value chain?
  • Which customers should you invite to participate in your product development efforts?
  • How committed are you to your customers’ success?

Customer Connections will help you discover new ways to think about value creation. It pulls together the strategy and the action plan for building and managing customer portfolios and for leveraging customer relationships for competitive advantage.

Robert E. Wayland is President of Robert E. Wayland & Associates, a corporate strategy consulting firm in Concord, Massachusetts.

Paul M. Cole is the national director of the Ernst & Young Customer Connection Solutions practice in Boston.