Studio Generale: Customer Focus

20.02.2012, 15:54
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Are you a track 1 or track 2 company? Can the track 2 strategy be applied to low-cost housing? These were the questions brought up and discussed during the Studio Generale session on Wednesday, together with Sandra Vandermerwe, specialist in customer-centric services who has worked with the likes of Nokia, BP, IBM, Volvo and many more.

All over the world countries are saying what is at the core of our value propositions? When it comes to developing customer focus there are two types of companies that operate on the market — Track 1 and Track 2.


Track 1 Companies:

— Have a linear way of operating their businesses and focus on demand and supply;

— Work the same model and make incremental changes in the next linear step, like opening up more stores or expanding to other countries;

— Think short-term. Over time their products fade away and become commoditized and the relationship between the customer becomes commoditized too, therefore the profit margin goes down;

— Do what they know best and therefore minimize risks;

— Meet customer expectations, not shape them.


Track 2 Companies:

— Suit the needs of individuals and opt for innovation, making investments and giving an integrated experience for the user, thus becoming more connected to the customer;

— Make an educated hypothesis and invent the future needs of the customers. They make it happen. (, for example, instead of making the person go into the store and buy a book if it’s in stock, is providing the necessary services to find and deliver the desired book to your doorstep);

— Create new standards;

— Recognize competition from outside their industry; collaborate with other companies to create a win-win situation and make a customer lock-on.


New opportunities are discovered by looking beyond improving existing ideas, products and services in order to create new market spaces or new ways of doing things through disruptive or strategic innovation.

The important thing for companies who want to make their business innovative is to determine whether you’re on track 1 or track 2. The main problem is that most companies, who think they’re on track 2, are actually on track 1.

Track 2 companies create a new meaning for markets and real value for customers, thereby developing new market spaces. The relationship with clients gets smarter and stronger, more personalized, resulting in the business becoming indispensable for the client.

In an interview with Sandra Vandermerwe (to be published on the blog in the next few days), there will be more on the customer-centric approach.