Customer-Driven Disruption: Five Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Customer-Driven Disruption: Five Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve

by Suman Sarkar


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Businesses worry about new technologies, but customers are the ultimate disruptors—Suman Sarkar offers bold strategies for making sure you understand your customers and keep up with their ever-changing needs.

Disruption—the brutal roiling of markets, the decline of long-established brands and products, and the rise of new upstarts—drives business failure and success. Most people think technology causes disruption, but technology merely enables it. Changing customer needs cause disruptions, and too many businesses get caught unaware. 

Suman Sarkar offers proven strategies that will enable any business to stay radically close to its customers and address their evolving needs. He argues that businesses need to focus on existing customers first—research shows they’re likely to spend more and are more profitable than new customers. Personalization is becoming important for the newer generations in both developed and developing markets, so Sarkar describes approaches to make them cost-effective. In our era of instant gratification, customers want what they want now—Sarkar explains how you can develop and deliver products and services faster than ever. And since a few bad Yelp reviews, social media posts, or angry tweets from customers can ruin you, Sarkar shows how to proactively make sure the quality of your products and services stays better than that of your competitors. 

The key to survival in this era of changing customer needs is to focus on and address them quickly so customers don’t switch to the competition. Drawing on his experiences with leading companies worldwide, Sarkar offers five strategies and techniques that will keep you ahead of the curve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523099757
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,274,433
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Suman Sarkar is a partner with Three S Consulting, located in San Francisco. He has worked with clients in financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology, consumer goods, retail, outsourcing, and government. Before launching his consulting practice, he was a management consultant at A.T. Kearney and worked at Procter & Gamble. He holds a master's in industrial engineering from NITIE, Mumbai, India, and an MBA from UCLA in strategy and finance. He is the author of The Supply Chain Revolution.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction: Disruption Myth 1

New Strategies for Disruption 3

Focus 7

1 Customers Drive Disruption 8

Focus on Customer Needs, Not What's Articulated 10

Recognize That Customer Needs Vary by Country and Geography 12

Generational Changes Will Drive Future Disruptions 15

How Generational Changes Affect Businesses 19

Realizing That Technology and Innovation Do Not Disrupt Companies 20

Disconnect between Customer Needs and Technology Development 20

Walmart Versus Amazon 22

2 Customer-Focused Strategies Needed to Avoid Disruption 24

Why Companies Don't Focus on Customers 28

Failure of Current Business Strategies 30

New Customer-Focused Strategies Are Needed to Avoid Disruption 37

Successful Turnarounds 40

3 Customer-Focus Strategy 1: Win with Current Customers Before Chasing after New Ones 42

Getting Current Customers to Spend More 45

Increasing Service Levels without Ruining Yourself 49

Increasing Revenue Profitably 51

Getting Existing Customers to Spend More 59

4 Customer-Focus Strategy 2: Personalization is not a Luxury 60

The Personalization Revolution 62

Personalization Then and Now 67

How to Deliver Affordable Personalization 70

Making Affordable Personalization a Reality 77

5 Customer-Focus Strategy 3: Customers Won't Wait 80

Introduce New Products or Services Quickly 84

After Launch, Plan for Quick Scaling to Keep Up with Demand 86

Create the Right Service Model 88

How to Respond Faster to Changing Customer Needs 90

Responding Faster to Customer Needs 98

6 Customer-Focus Strategy 4: Good Enough is no Longer Good Enough 100

Step 1 : Focus on Quality Now 102

Step 2: Set Standards That Customers Can't Resist 108

Step 3: Optimize Manufacturing for Quality, Not Output 111

Step 4: Don't Be Afraid to Challenge Industry Norms 113

Step 5: Think Supply Chain 114

Winning with Quality 116

7 Customer-Focus Strategy 5: Disregard Strategies 1 Through 4 118

Understanding Future Customer Needs and Developing Strategies for Them 120

Empowering Teams 130

Paying Attention to Detail 133

Business Reinvention 137

Conclusion: Choosing and Implementing the Strategies 139

Selecting the Right Customer-Focused Strategies 142

Changing Organization Perspective 149

Societal Implications 153

Appendix: Disruption Assessment 156

Notes 163

Acknowledgments 168

Index 169

About the Author 176

Customer Reviews