IN THIS SUMMARY
The unmet needs of customers are everywhere today in products and services that are not carefully designed and, therefore, fall far short of their potential. This situation in which clients either do not get what they need, or get what they don’t need is called the "expectations gap." Addressing that gap is where customer-intimate companies begin. They become expert at revealing and articulating those mismatches, and they fashion comprehensive solutions to fix them. Customer Intimacy demonstrates just how intimate suppliers can become with their customers. These practices are spreading rapidly throughout every industry, and Wiersema’s in-depth exploration of a broad variety of innovative practitioners (some of the best-known and most successful customer-intimate companies) demonstrates that customer intimacy is well worth the trouble. Detailed, but succinct, case studies make up the bulk of the material presented. With these examples, Wiersema quickly and concisely pinpoints all the timely and practical information needed for companies to design their operating models and develop the skills to execute them, to initiate a shift to intimacy, to overcome the inevitable obstacles, to learn how to choose and engage customers, and to shape their cultures and create new measurement systems and management structures to support them. Wiersema’s rich illustrations in Customer Intimacy clearly delineate the fundamental differences between intimacy and traditional customer service practices. Thus, executives and managers, who have hit the self-improvement wall and who are wondering what to do after having exhausted the potential of TQM, lean management, and reengineering, will discover how to use customer intimacy to distinguish their companies. Those in small and entrepreneurial businesses will gain insight about how to compete against the heavyweights that can afford the disciplines of operational excellence and/or product leadership. And executives and managers in large or resource rich enterprises will see how to use intimacy to sustain their successes.