What's Your Customer's Problem?

Front Cover
Pearson Education, Feb 1, 2010 - Business & Economics - 16 pages

Business strategist and New York Times bestselling author Fred Wiersema presents his latest insights and advice on achieving customer intimacy in a series of new, practical, digital-only guides. This one focuses on the critical importance of identifying your customers' true problem. Changes are, it’s not what you--or they--think. But it’s vital if you want to keep customers coming back, especially in these tough economic times.

It was a rotting old fence around my swimming pool that drove home the power of deeply analyzing customer problems. I thought a traditional white picket fence would be perfect to replace it. The first two contractors made their measurements, discussed the materials, calculated, and gave me prices. But the third surprised me. “Why do you want a white fence? Have you ever thought about black?” He explained that a black fence would blend into the background, making the surrounding area more visible, while a white fence would make the pool area more intimate and enclosed. My wife and I had never thought about that. Next, he asked why we were replacing the old fence. I thought it was obvious: It was falling apart and needed to be repainted every few years. “Have you considered an anodized aluminum fence? It would last pretty much forever,” he said. That clinched the deal: He’d offered a better answer for needs we didn’t even realize we had.


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About the author (2010)

Fred Wiersema is a noted business strategist and speaker. He is coauthor, with Michael Treacy, of the highly acclaimed book, The Discipline of Market Leaders, which spent five months at the top of The New York Times and BusinessWeek bestseller lists. The book showed how winning companies create a distinctive appeal to customers by focusing on either operational excellence, product leadership, or customer intimacy. Wiersema, who holds a doctorate from the Harvard Business School, is also the author of The New Market Leaders and Customer Intimacy and his work has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and BusinessWeek.

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