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Close to the customer: 25 years on, we seem to have forgotten…

USEFUL CONCEPT

Close to the customer. In most organizations, distance from the customer denotes seniority. The more contact you have with customers, the lower your status must be (though this is not said openly). Tom Peters and Bob Waterman put customers and the frontline at the heart of the business agenda with the phrase ‘close to the customer’ in the book In Search of Excellence in 1982. A quarter of a century later, many leaders still don’t realize that they have to take this phrase literally and spend a significant portion of their time where their business actually is.

USEFUL CONCEPT

Close to the customer. In most organizations, distance from the customer denotes seniority. The more contact you have with customers, the lower your status must be (though this is not said openly). Tom Peters and Bob Waterman put customers and the frontline at the heart of the business agenda with the phrase ‘close to the customer’ in the book In Search of Excellence in 1982. A quarter of a century later, many leaders still don’t realize that they have to take this phrase literally and spend a significant portion of their time where their business actually is.


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