3 strategies focused on creating value for the client [Future Processing example]
Which strategic path should you choose to meet your customers’ needs and take the lead on the market? In the 90s, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema created three complementary strategies to win a competitive advantage. Let’s explore each one of them and check how they help develop Future Processing.
In 2021 expectations among your customers, users and employees are higher than ever before. They regard quality, usability and ergonomics as well as the prices of products and services. Market leaders constantly shift quality standards in terms of essential features for the recipient. They are, however, pioneers only in a selected market area and average brands in others. The key to success is the company’s strategy oriented towards customers’ needs. In Future Processing, we follow this path.
Treacy & Wiersema Concept
Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema published “Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines” in 1993. They created the three complementary strategies that help win competitive advantage:
- Customer Intimacy
- Operational Excellence
- Product Leadership
Each of them focuses on products and services improvement by increasing value for the customer in the area that is a priority. Treacy and Wiersema’s concept is still a successful alternative to strategies focused on the lowest possible price, differentiation or concentration on selected segments.
Future Processing practice shows that you will achieve the best results by selecting one leading strategy that powers particular solutions. However, it is essential to ensure a decent level of implementation of the other two concepts. There are 3 complementary areas.
Strategy 1: Customer Intimacy
When following the Customer Intimacy strategy, you focus not on what the market dictates today but on the values that specific customers currently need. Sustainable customer relationships and trust are crucial. Thanks to this, market leaders have access to knowledge about particular needs. It means that they have the best solutions for their clients.
The main features:
- Key business processes are focused on helping clients achieve their strategy and business goals.
- The organisational structure supports building relationships and identifying customer needs.
- Management systems are designed to measure the costs of providing services and maintaining relationships with customers.
- A culture of cooperation with the client-focused approach and flexibility.
- Ease of cooperation from the customer’s perspective.
How do we follow Customer Intimacy?
FP has developed the so-called feedback culture. The feedback is gathered by clients and associates at least once a quarter.
We use the DSI survey procedure, which helps us understand mood and satisfaction at the project team level. Based on that, the leaders of different teams set expectations for specific results. Our job is to meet those expectations.
Once a quarter, the NPS (Net promoter score) survey is performed globally at almost all FP clients. Thanks to it, we know what our customers expect from us from extended NPS research and other sources.
What customer needs do we successfully respond to?
- Fast delivery of competencies.
- The certainty of delivering the service on time.
- Invariability of the staff (lower employee turnover).
- Individual approach and flexibility (focus on the client’s goals and strategy).
- Solutions that effectively help to achieve the company’s business goals.
- Regular adjustment of our services to clients’ needs.
- A whole department of Analysts and UX designers to ensure full focus on client’s business and industry requirements.
Strategy 2: Operational Excellence
It recognises the key value of providing good value products with average, decent and fair majority quality with hassle-free service.
The main features:
- Critical business processes are centred around the optimisation of distribution processes and trouble-free service. Operational excellence allows you to reduce costs but also ensure sufficient quality and trouble-free service.
- A structure built around central management and limited powers.
- Management systems based on rigid procedures.
- A culture based on predictability and a mass approach.
How do we follow Operational Excellence?
Following the strategy of matching customers’ needs requires taking a closer look at operational efficiency. E.g. some of FP’s customers, particularly those who implement more and more projects involving several dozen people, expect greater discounts. To meet customers’ needs, constantly develop and still provide growing salaries and benefits for our employees, we optimise costs.
What customer needs do we respond to?
- More favourable prices with the highest quality projects implemented (better value for money).
- Optimisation of costs thanks to quick reaction if the project goes in the wrong direction or any blockers appear.
- Involvement of larger teams and optimised processes.
- Competent, committed and satisfied staff thanks to the care of employees in many fields (benefits, feedback, listening to needs).
- Opening additional branches, hiring more people to perform less complex tasks.
Strategy 3: Product Leadership
The strategy aims to constantly create products or services that redefine customer expectations towards products of this type in a given segment. A vital feature of this strategy is the need to continually introduce innovations to maintain a competitive advantage.
How do we follow Product Leadership?
Like most organisations, we dream about product leadership or creating the so-called “blue ocean” (a new market space where competition does not count). However, the nature of the current FP offer doesn’t create the potential for this direction as dominant. Our structure has been designed for the implementation of IT services. We develop innovative products for business, but we don’t create them as aggressively as IT product leaders.
What customer needs do we respond to?
- Offer created to perform IT services: design and implementation.
- Innovative products for business developing sustainably, based on customer needs (it is a few % of FP’s revenue).
- Loyal cooperation with other IT companies, which brings them new opportunities to develop.
- A well-functioning partner channel, and it’s already one of the company’s most important assets.
- Ability to quickly respond to customers’ needs (fundamental during the pandemic).
- Work with consulting agencies in the area of strategy to approach significant challenges with customers from foreign markets.
- Closer cooperation with partners who specialise in the missing areas as in the concept of Open Innovation (to get involved in more significant challenges).
Customer Experience Expertise
In Future Processing, numbers prove that the dominant strategy of following customer needs is effective. As much 56% of our revenue comes from clients working with us for more than 3 years. It is also shown by:
- recommendations (many potential customers contact us via our past or current clients);
- research (above-average results of the NPS tests);
- perfect employer image (we attract high-end specialists).
The Future Processing team has developed broad competencies in Customer Experience. We follow our proven strategy, listen to our customers, ask for feedback, and always talk about the changing needs. That is why we have precious expertise in the Customer Experience of your IT products. We can help you build loyalty among your customers, employees or users by delivering them unique experiences.