Interview with Edgar K. Geffroy: Keeping the customer close to your heart
For over three decades, Edgar K. Geffroy has been one of the most successful business consultants and, with his customer relationship model known as Clienting, has revolutionized the business world. He is convinced that to be successful you have to make the customer the focus of your business strategy.
Mr Geffroy, your customers are achieving unprecedented successes with Clienting –what is it all about and why are companies more successful when they adopt the Clienting approach?
Clienting focuses on individual customers as people and on increasing their success, rather than focusing on the market as a whole. Clienting is defined as a systematic structure for linking customers using relationship networks and personal contact networks, and incorporates social media. As a consequence, the quality of customer relationships is the most important asset on any company’s balance sheet. But Clienting actually goes even further – it provides an opportunity to integrate the customer as a seller into the solutions developed for them.
In an age of digital revolution, the rules of the game for businesses have changed dramatically. You are talking about the next generation of customers. Why is that?
When it comes to customer centricity, we are starting from scratch – the biggest paradigm shift is still ahead of us in the shape of the Internet of Things/Services. The digital world is changing our business models and therefore our customers. Companies need to be able to identify their customers’ fundamental needs. The aim must be to be the first name that comes into your customer’s head, and you can only do that if you have been able to identify their most pressing problems. New technologies, including artificial intelligence, help to do this.
We are seeing more networking with new technologies and artificial intelligence – yet you believe the business world is becoming more emotional?
Warmth is what will make the difference in highly competitive markets, where products are becoming increasingly interchangeable. Tomorrow’s successful companies will succeed in demonstrating genuine empathy with the customer, and in establishing partnership relationships – between hierarchy levels and across all departments.
In your new book “Herzenssache Kunde” (“Keeping the customer close to your heart”) you present for the first time a summary of your 7 keys to unprecedented customer success – could you give us a brief insight into them?
Over 20 chapters, each representing a different business idea, the book guides readers through a new world of customer relationships and aims to inspire, but at the same time to provide some solutions and implementation examples. The fundamental point is “Helping not serving” – the key is to help your customers to do better business and to have a better life.
What do you think is the secret to being the first name in your customer’s head?
Go for a walk. Go for a walk in the customer’s head. Discover, feel what they are thinking, feeling and dreaming. That’s the only way you will be able to anticipate what the customer thinks is great or would think were great if it existed. Don’t look from the inside out. Change your perspective and look at companies through the customer’s eyes. This is what will put you in pole position with the customer.
Edgar K. Geffroy is an entrepreneur and business speaker and, for more than 30 years, has been one of the most respected German-language business experts. Geffroy has been an enthusiast for CAS Software’s CRM solutions since the early days – his company has been using CAS genesisWorld for over 15 years to put its customers at the center of all its activities.