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Customer-centric bake-off

For a variety of reasons, we’ve all been doing more cooking and baking during lockdown and sharing recipes and results on social media. Here's my recipe for becoming customer-centric.


  1. A pack of executive leaders*. They may require some preparation to make them capable of envisioning creating sustainable value. 

  2. The right amount of customer data. No more, no less.

  3. A varied selection of fresh customers willing to share their thoughts, worries and dreams.

  4. An experienced analytics team* to act as commis chefs. 

  5. Empathic segment managers*. Your sous chefs can be home-made or bought-in.

  6. A pinch of credit, operations, risk and marketing resources. Must be fresh and add flavour.


  • Don’t start this recipe unless you’re confident that you have all the key ingredients (marked * above).

  • Carefully remove any ingrained belief that it’s a lack of products that is causing a lack of growth, value or loyalty. It’s about the customer, not the product.

  • You will also need somewhere secure and accessible to store, clean and prepare data.

  • You can do analytics in-house if you have the right resources and skills or you can request the services of a third-party commis chef to help.

  • You should check distribution channels to make sure they are fit for purpose and measurable and free from leakage before being used.


  1. Carefully blend executive leadership into a single vision of creating sustainable value. Do not over-blend, executives have congealed if not handled properly. Use a splodge here and there throughout the recipe to help blend in other ingredients.

  2. From your ingredients, carefully select the segment managers based upon best fit and empathy with your proposed customer segments. Take time with this step as selecting the wrong segment managers may spoil the result.

  3. Prepare quality customer data by extracting the raw material into a data pool and thoroughly cleansing it, also making it easily accessible. Store it securely. Has a limited shelf-life, so must be regularly refreshed and cleansed.

  4. Gently warm customers to extract their attitudes, worries and dreams through face-to-face interaction, paying attention to what they value and don’t value from you. Zoom is a perfectly acceptable medium at the current time. Record and store what they tell you for use later. Do not interpret it or manipulate it.

  5. Unwrap your analytics team and allow to breathe. Combine them with customer data and customer attitudinal data to create original customer insights. Adding a dollop of segment manager to help create the right consistency.

  6. Present customer insights to segment managers, carefully blend with quality ingredients from operations, credit & marketing to form several sample propositions that are feasibly and potentially generate sustainable value. Using the samples, test and learn to find the best proposition by using champion/challenger techniques.

  7. Prepare for serving by making sure that your operations and distribution channels are prepared and ready (including measurement and feedback).

  8. Present and listen to reaction from employees and customers as they consume it. Adjust next batch by listening to feedback and changing ingredients, sticking to the same method. Repeat process until perfect. 

We can help

‘A Smarter Way to do Business. Know and act based upon your customer’ by Carlos Wanderley inspired this recipe.

We are an experienced brigade of chefs willing to help mentor chefs de cuisine create a customer-centric recipe for their business. Please visit Smarter Way Mentors for more information about how we can help. 

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