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Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

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What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful—and misunderstood—element of corporate str What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful—and misunderstood—element of corporate strategy today. Customer experience is, quite simply, how your customers perceive their every interaction with your company. It’s a fundamental business driver. Here’s proof: over a recent five-year period during which the S&P 500 was flat, a stock portfolio of customer experience leaders grew twenty-two percent. In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about your company and its competitors, customer experience is the only sustainable source of competitive advantage. But how to excel at it? Based on fourteen years of research by the customer experience leaders at Forrester Research, Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage. It starts with the concept of the Customer Experience Ecosystem—proof that the roots of customer experience problems lie not just with customer-facing employees like your sales staff, but with behind-the-scenes employees like accountants, lawyers, and programmers, as well as the policies, processes, and technologies that all your employees use every day. Identifying and solving these problems has the potential to dramatically increase sales and decrease costs.


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What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful—and misunderstood—element of corporate str What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful—and misunderstood—element of corporate strategy today. Customer experience is, quite simply, how your customers perceive their every interaction with your company. It’s a fundamental business driver. Here’s proof: over a recent five-year period during which the S&P 500 was flat, a stock portfolio of customer experience leaders grew twenty-two percent. In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about your company and its competitors, customer experience is the only sustainable source of competitive advantage. But how to excel at it? Based on fourteen years of research by the customer experience leaders at Forrester Research, Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage. It starts with the concept of the Customer Experience Ecosystem—proof that the roots of customer experience problems lie not just with customer-facing employees like your sales staff, but with behind-the-scenes employees like accountants, lawyers, and programmers, as well as the policies, processes, and technologies that all your employees use every day. Identifying and solving these problems has the potential to dramatically increase sales and decrease costs.

30 review for Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt Beckwith

    I bought this book years ago but finally picked it up recently to read it. I've spent nearly my entire career as a customer service geek and knew that Forrester had mountains of great research on the topic of service, and more importantly over the last decade, customer experience. Outside In was a great dive into Customer Experience, chock full of mini-case-studies and key learnings of companies from different ends of CX maturity. The book can be an insightful crash course to anyone, in any fiel I bought this book years ago but finally picked it up recently to read it. I've spent nearly my entire career as a customer service geek and knew that Forrester had mountains of great research on the topic of service, and more importantly over the last decade, customer experience. Outside In was a great dive into Customer Experience, chock full of mini-case-studies and key learnings of companies from different ends of CX maturity. The book can be an insightful crash course to anyone, in any field, at any level within their company, on the world of Customer Experience and how to build a successful CX focus in your business. The only downside of the book, as with any written with specific business successes, it's possible that time will not be so kind to some of the examples. Other than that, I loved it! Although this book rarely makes the top lists of CX books, it should!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cale

    This was a book I read for work, and I have to say it inspired a lot of ideas, which is probably the best metric for a this kind of book. The idea of approaching business from a customer's viewpoint seems obvious, but is fairly novel in the workplace. My company is taking baby steps in this direction, so sitting down and doing some of the thinking about what that mindset entails opens up huge avenues. The book is well set up to pass the message on, detailing the why first, then the hows. Even if This was a book I read for work, and I have to say it inspired a lot of ideas, which is probably the best metric for a this kind of book. The idea of approaching business from a customer's viewpoint seems obvious, but is fairly novel in the workplace. My company is taking baby steps in this direction, so sitting down and doing some of the thinking about what that mindset entails opens up huge avenues. The book is well set up to pass the message on, detailing the why first, then the hows. Even if the company doesn't really take on the goals of the book, it's enough to explore on a local level.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ezra

    An odd combination of (1) good, energetic writing, (2) a few very interesting models (3) lousy examples. Over and over again, I said "reall? That's an example of creating good service?" An odd combination of (1) good, energetic writing, (2) a few very interesting models (3) lousy examples. Over and over again, I said "reall? That's an example of creating good service?"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tim Laukka

    This was a very good book about the benefits of focusing on and improving the customer experience. I like how Manning goes through the six disciplines of customer experience: Strategy, Customer Understanding, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Culture in a systematic way. He helps you understand that the customer experience must be viewed from a holistic perspective in order to get it right. He includes several relevant examples of how various companies used these disciplines to improve the cu This was a very good book about the benefits of focusing on and improving the customer experience. I like how Manning goes through the six disciplines of customer experience: Strategy, Customer Understanding, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Culture in a systematic way. He helps you understand that the customer experience must be viewed from a holistic perspective in order to get it right. He includes several relevant examples of how various companies used these disciplines to improve the customer experience. The six disciplines of customer experience provides a great framework for establishing a methodology that will permeate through the whole organization and make it stick.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    This should be required reading for anyone who cares about customer experience. The book is overflowing with excellent examples of what companies are doing to become more customer centric. In addition, there's fantastic commentary from the authors, along with their insights and best practice recommendations. Great handbook on experience. This should be required reading for anyone who cares about customer experience. The book is overflowing with excellent examples of what companies are doing to become more customer centric. In addition, there's fantastic commentary from the authors, along with their insights and best practice recommendations. Great handbook on experience.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Draschil

    Fantastic book on customer experience and the necessity for customer centered businesses. This is the first book I recommend to anyone looking to become educated in the customer experience arena.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grant Cousineau

    The premise seems almost too simple: the only way to survive and thrive in any business is to put customers at the center of your entire business model. But what does that mean? How do you do that differently from the competition? And does it ensure success? Well, if done properly, it will all but guarantee success. That's the core of this book, but the reason this book is important is because most people don't know what it means to work around your customers. For example, there's a pyramid diagr The premise seems almost too simple: the only way to survive and thrive in any business is to put customers at the center of your entire business model. But what does that mean? How do you do that differently from the competition? And does it ensure success? Well, if done properly, it will all but guarantee success. That's the core of this book, but the reason this book is important is because most people don't know what it means to work around your customers. For example, there's a pyramid diagram of how to win over a customer: the base is how you meet their needs, the middle (and next most important level) is how you make your product or service easy to use, and lastly, the capstone, is enjoyment. What emotional reaction do they have to your product or service? That part is usually the least thought about, but if you can do it and repeat it, you'll build customer loyalty. That's just one of the great insights in this book. Some of the other things they cover are things like how do you build customer service into your governance practices, how do you fully map out a customer experience journey, and why is it crucial for corporations to hire Chief Customer Officers. There's a lot more here, but while even some of the points made in this book are either obvious or somewhat common, there's more than enough here to provide insights you may have never even considered. Plus, there are real world examples of these theories in action. My favorite would have to be FedEx, and how even though they have a long history of good customer service and shipping packages timely, they used to have an issue building customer trust. In short, at the FedEx office, they used to take the customer's package and put it on the "leaning tower of packages." This gave the customer a visual cue of being disorganized, and planting doubts that their packages would arrive on time. The solution? They built walls with windows through which packages were deposited for delivery so customers would see their packages in motion. Behind that wall -- the "leaning tower of packages." Their service was fine. Customers just has an issue with perception. There's so much more great stuff in this book that I'd say it applies to just about any business, big or small. I wouldn't so far as to say this is a book for everyone, but I found myself not only asking smarter questions at work about why we do what we do, but I've also become a more savvy customer in my personal life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tarun Bajaj

    Customer experience is customer's perception of their interaction with your company. According to the book, mediocre customer experience is the norm and hence, it advocates strategic focus on Customer Experience to turn it into a source of competitive advantage to positively impact core business metrics. The book starts by explaining the customer experience pyramid and describing the customer experience ecosystem and it's significance to establish a context for company wide action to improve the Customer experience is customer's perception of their interaction with your company. According to the book, mediocre customer experience is the norm and hence, it advocates strategic focus on Customer Experience to turn it into a source of competitive advantage to positively impact core business metrics. The book starts by explaining the customer experience pyramid and describing the customer experience ecosystem and it's significance to establish a context for company wide action to improve the customer experience. Subsequently, book advocates practicing six disciplines of customer experience and a path of corporate evolution of customer experience maturity to gain competitive advantage. The book contains ample case studies to make it easy for the reader to understand how companies across industries are applying the concepts recommended in the book. Though the book attempts to cover many concepts, it lacks in exploring each concept in depth.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sergio Caredda

    Putting customers at the center of a business should be almost natural. But through the different journeys provided, you discover ho distant this approach is from many common practices and how deep the change needs to be to enact real customer centric strategies. The ideas presented are simple and well outlined, with many examples. Only issue, as usual with business books that are based on real business examples, is that some of these age pretty fast. But a definite good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Good step by step guide on creating a customer experience program for your business/department. Very dense, but not especially deep. For someone who is a beginner in the realm of CX, it was a great introduction and will be revisited early and often. This is a great place to start if you're interested in a road map. Would recommend to a friend/colleague! Good step by step guide on creating a customer experience program for your business/department. Very dense, but not especially deep. For someone who is a beginner in the realm of CX, it was a great introduction and will be revisited early and often. This is a great place to start if you're interested in a road map. Would recommend to a friend/colleague!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    A good overview of the discipline and great inspiration It got me answers to many questions as well as made me come up with more questions. Great read! Highly recommended

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gil

    Aligning your organizations optimized processes from the outside in remains the backbone of CX

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Anderson

    High level but a great book to challenge some of your thoughts, strategy and execution of customer experience.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Nothing really new to be learned in this book, but lots of good reminders that customer experience is King.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bonita Shah

    A MUST read for any insights/marketing professional. Fantastic perspective.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mercer Smith

    Some good stuff. Outdated and definitely designed with larger companies in mind, but a good “thinking” point for leads of smaller teams.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Whitaker

    Makes an excellent case for the value of client experience. Full of real case study examples and practical how to's. Makes an excellent case for the value of client experience. Full of real case study examples and practical how to's.

  18. 5 out of 5

    المهند السبيعي

    This book will help you to understand why CX not being taken seriously by many companies, it will help you as well to establish a proper framework to build a strong Cx practice within any organization ... While I am reading I was able to justify many of challenges which faced me while working under this important function ... The book is a must-to-read for any CX professionals.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

    A difficult read but fascinating. It is fairly obvious that customers are the life blood of almost any business and it is equally obvious that they need looking after but in this day and age how many companies actually do this or are they really regarding their customers as a means to an end in respect of their own bottom line. However, with the proliferation of free or virtually free information technology, they can no longer take this cavalier attitude and get away with it. Customers have lear A difficult read but fascinating. It is fairly obvious that customers are the life blood of almost any business and it is equally obvious that they need looking after but in this day and age how many companies actually do this or are they really regarding their customers as a means to an end in respect of their own bottom line. However, with the proliferation of free or virtually free information technology, they can no longer take this cavalier attitude and get away with it. Customers have learned to vote with their feet, compare the experience they have with their current suppliers with their supplier's competitors and move their business if they think they can get a better experience sometimes at a more economical cost. Customer is king again. "You need your customer more than he needs you." This book sets out how companies are re-thinking their attitudes. Big is no longer beautiful and many big names are beginning to appoint and employ CCO's (Chief Customer Officers) at the same level of the CFO, CIO etc. reporting directly to the CEO. This book also explains how companies have to learn that "this is a journey not a project. It has a beginning but it doesn't have an end" a quote eloquently made by one of their interviewees in the research for this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay Ehret

    I received a couple of key insights from this audio book, particularly how to map the customer ecosystem and considering how the 3 Levels of Customer Experience factor into customer experience design. Those two were worth the price alone. But most of the book is an overview of customer experience management and cheerleading for the role of a Chief Customer Officer in the corporate C-Suite. The book focuses on very large brands and, while not shamelessly, does heavily promote the Forrester CXI. T I received a couple of key insights from this audio book, particularly how to map the customer ecosystem and considering how the 3 Levels of Customer Experience factor into customer experience design. Those two were worth the price alone. But most of the book is an overview of customer experience management and cheerleading for the role of a Chief Customer Officer in the corporate C-Suite. The book focuses on very large brands and, while not shamelessly, does heavily promote the Forrester CXI. The narration is workman-like, and not bad. There are many quotations throughout the book from interviews done for the case studies. It's humorous to listen to narrator Mel Foster change his voice to "mimic" the person the authors quote. Not always flattering and I found myself chuckling at how the quoted source might perceive the impersonation of their voice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Doug Della pietra

    The authors do a very effective job in setting the context for the new Age of the Customer -- as of 2010. Outside In presents critical disciplines that every company/organization must incorporate into its DNA if it is become customer-centric. Excellent case studies demonstrated the disciplines at work. I would have rated the book a 5 out of 5 if the authors had provided a platform (reflection questions, tools, etc.) for the reader to apply the book's principles within their business. The authors do a very effective job in setting the context for the new Age of the Customer -- as of 2010. Outside In presents critical disciplines that every company/organization must incorporate into its DNA if it is become customer-centric. Excellent case studies demonstrated the disciplines at work. I would have rated the book a 5 out of 5 if the authors had provided a platform (reflection questions, tools, etc.) for the reader to apply the book's principles within their business.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kent White

    I really liked this book. I think it is unusual in the way it captures all the various frameworks and constraints faced by large organizations trying to improve their customer experience. It reads more like a textbook, which is good, since the depth is hard to digest and requires review on a regular basis. This is one book that I will refer to often and I'm glad I bought a hard copy instead of just listening to the audiobook. I really liked this book. I think it is unusual in the way it captures all the various frameworks and constraints faced by large organizations trying to improve their customer experience. It reads more like a textbook, which is good, since the depth is hard to digest and requires review on a regular basis. This is one book that I will refer to often and I'm glad I bought a hard copy instead of just listening to the audiobook.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma Dent

    Full of pragmatic, logical and practical advice to improve customer experience This book is full of real life examples to support the theory behind customer experience disciplines. No jargon, just practical advice on how the principles can be applied in any organisation. I'd recommend is book is read by all executive leaders and anyone pulling their hair out at the challenge of improving customer experience :) Full of pragmatic, logical and practical advice to improve customer experience This book is full of real life examples to support the theory behind customer experience disciplines. No jargon, just practical advice on how the principles can be applied in any organisation. I'd recommend is book is read by all executive leaders and anyone pulling their hair out at the challenge of improving customer experience :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    JP

    Manning, Bodine, and the entire Forrester organization are thought leaders in the realm of customer experience. This book shows a new level of maturity for the profession. The authors outline a framework any organization can use to take customer experience to the new next level. The book itself is organized and readable, with a good blend of theory and case examples.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    This book provides a lot of great content, including case studies and research. It's very detailed and helps business leaders understand the importance of the customer experience and how to enhance the customer experience. While the content is good, the presentation is a little dry. But this should not deter you from digging into the book's vitally important information. This book provides a lot of great content, including case studies and research. It's very detailed and helps business leaders understand the importance of the customer experience and how to enhance the customer experience. While the content is good, the presentation is a little dry. But this should not deter you from digging into the book's vitally important information.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book on putting the customer first. The 6 key themes are simple yet quite difficult to master and this book provides some great insights into how to deliver for customers. Thoroughly recommend this book to those that want to deliver a customer first organisation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hales

    Timeless Though this book could do with updating is examples, the base points,ideas and practices are sound and incredibly important regardless of industry. This is the second time I've read this book and rereading it only reminded me that many of the lessons here still haven't been applied let alone see a raft of CCOs being appointed. Timeless Though this book could do with updating is examples, the base points,ideas and practices are sound and incredibly important regardless of industry. This is the second time I've read this book and rereading it only reminded me that many of the lessons here still haven't been applied let alone see a raft of CCOs being appointed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don

    This is the guide to understanding the power of putting your customers at the center of your business. A must read if you are in a client facing role and wanting to move your career to the next level. Clear examples on where to start if you are a business owner tasked with improving your customer experience and plenty of case studies to draw from.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Munk-Stander

    A good book on the subject, though it doesn't quite get its content balance right. A six discipline framework is explored, but the essence is lost in (entertaining) case studies rather than focusing on actionable use. A good book on the subject, though it doesn't quite get its content balance right. A six discipline framework is explored, but the essence is lost in (entertaining) case studies rather than focusing on actionable use.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andy Thornton

    A good introduction to customer-centric business strategy backed up with strong case studies and market evidence (as expected given the authors are from the CX team at Forrester). Includes some benchmark UCD methods though the content is not particularly aimed at UX practitioners.

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