Ginger Conlon, editorial director of 1to1 Media, is responsible for the direction and day-to-day editorial operations of the Customer Strategist journal, as well as the award-winning online publication 1to1 Magazine, its e-newsletter, blog, and podcast series.
Previously, she served as editor-in-chief of CRM magazine. Prior to that, she was managing editor and Web supervisor for Sales & Marketing Management magazine. In addition, Ginger has contributed to several business books on CRM-related topics.
Study after study supports the fact that a focus on customers improves business performance. Simply put, customer centricity is profitable.The 1to1 Customer Champions know this, and take actions that help their organizations create a customer-focused competitive advantage.
1to1 Media has honored customer-centric executives with the designation “1to1 Customer Champion” since 2004, and with good reason. These business leaders believe that understanding their customers’ needs and preference, their behavior, and their current and potential value is essential to making informed decisions that lead to profitable outcomes.
They also know that acting on customer insight—whether that insight was discovered through market research, satisfaction surveys, feedback provided through an online community, or any other avenue that delivers the voice of the customer—provides a competitive advantage. Their success underscores this.
Consider Gina Debogovich, social strategist and community manager for Best Buy, as an example. Debogovich has executed on a vision to interaction with, assist, and advise customers in as many ways as possible, sometimes blazing a new trail to make it happen.
As Managing Editor Elizabeth Glagowski notes in 1to1’s recent article about the 2010 1to1 Customer Champions, “1to1 Customer Champions Prove That Customer Centricity Drives Business Results,” Debogovich’s drive to provide a direct line of communication and advice for customers online and off is representative of Best Buy’s culture. Her outstanding efforts leading the retailers social media service strategy has helped the company grow from one person (Debogovich) moderating its online community to hosting a vibrant community lead by Debogovich, staffed by 14, and linked closely with the company’s Twitter account to enable the team to work with Best Buy’s Twelpforce to respond quickly to customers comments, complaints, and questions.
A customer posted about his frustration when he was unable to buy an iPhone at his local Florida store because a few wholesalers bought the entire inventory. “As a business we were disappointing our customers,” Debogovich says. She sent a link to the post to the executive team to start a dialogue about how to solve the problem. As a result Best Buy changed its policy within two weeks to limit the amount of items purchased.
People often ask me what I like most about my job. Celebrating the successes of business leaders like Debogovich is it. As Debogovich says, “Every contact is an idea.” And every customer interaction is an opportunity to build customer engagement and value—and business performance and results.
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