My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Customer Centricity is written for the executive rather than the daily practitioner. For this audience it succeeds – limited to a few key topics, brief enough to be read on a plane trip, free of academic jargon, supported with numbers just enough to get ideas across.
Fader’s key points are provocative and even counter to convention – that customer centricity is different from customer service, that product-centric organizational structures lead to diminished profitability, that traditional Customer Lifetime Value calculations are misleadingly flawed, even that customer centricity is probably not the best methodology for all types of businesses.
His advice to executives is to think of customers as heterogeneous, i.e., not in monolithic or averaged groups; and to have the discipline to maniacally measure and act on ever more precise customer data, even (especially) to allow certain kinds of customers to go away.
In my view, customer centricity at its limit customer becomes the Peppers & Rogers-style 1 to 1 marketing model that became popular in the late ’90s (and I still find quite compelling). You could view Fader’s take as the practical contemporary guidance, now that technology makes customer-centric organizations possible. The constraints that forced old-fashioned product-centric business models are falling away, and progressive practices like those suggested in Customer Centricity will become the norm. Companies might as well start making the most of them now.
Disclaimer: my wife and I were students of Fader’s at The Wharton School, are donors to the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative institute he co-founded, and consider him a personal friend.