The pioneer of all things Outside-In?

Who started #customerexperience ? Well, there has always been a customer experience, however, it is only in the last 20 years that companies have realized the need to get scientific about shaping and innovating #CX. Who was the pioneer that did that first? And in doing so shifted the emphasis from Industrial Age thinking to Outside-In practice. Let’s jump into the time machine and rediscover Steve Jobs back in 1997.

Moving from Product to Customer-Centric

Back then it wasn’t understood that designing Customer Experiences and delivering Successful Customer Outcomes went way beyond being product-centric. Steve Jobs anticipated this shift towards customer-centricity, and evolved Apples approach to rapidly shift to Outside-In strategy and operations.

Many of the concepts we accept, such as defining the customer experience from the customers perspective, and not the organizations, were developed in the cauldrons of Apple mountain. In fact, one of the key techniques within the CEMMethod™ was initially referred to as the ‘Apple Innovation Approach’.

Why so many still get it wrong

Here’s a great mini video explaining the difference in viewpoint Inside-Out v. Outside-In.

The CX Rockstar tells us why many get the definition of CX wrong.

James Dodkins aka CX Rockstar has many similar takes over at

We saw that at work in Outside-In design of products like the original iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Now taken for granted the last century was a mish mesh of competing chunks of technology (think the early MP3 players) that often required an MSc to understand the menu system and driver updates.

It isn’t what they want, it is what they NEED

Nowadays the major consumer product companies understand the requirement to articulates the needs of customers, and only then design products that meet those needs. That is Outside-In in action.

You would be right in saying he was the pioneer of Outside-In.

If you would like to dig deeper I talked about the difference in approaches of Industrial Age v. Customer Age/Outside-In in this article.

This item has caused quite a stir over at LinkedIn, you can join that discussion here.

Other Outside-In resources to Explore

When you say End to End what do YOU mean?

Nearly four years ago this question roused us all from our slumbers and continues to trouble many. Over on Linked In you can browse the various (and sometimes quite alarming) perspectives from noted to thinkers and leaders. Feel free to chip in and we will shortly summarise the key points for all to share 🙂

Review the story so far and join the debate at:

Customer Experience is BMW

“The dealership experience is as old as the car industry, roughly one hundred years old. While cars have changed, the retail experience is much the same as it was one hundred years ago,” says Dr. Ian Robertson Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW.

BMW leaders asked themselves “what business are we really in?” and determined to move beyond “just automotive”. In fact automotive describes more of what is done, rather than the result and outcome that is achieved, and in this digital enabled market it is more important than ever to align the business to the desired successful customer outcomes.

According to Robertson it led to “a complete redevelopment of BMW’s digital world, the physical experience at the dealership, and how our people interact with customers in the sales process.” Looking at next practice in organizations such as Apple and Disney, BMW created a new role in its dealerships—the product genius. The BMW product genius is a non-commissioned expert who invests as long as it takes to help shoppers with their choices. “The product genius is not encumbered by the sale process and is not motivated to sell a car,” Robertson responded. “His motivation is customer satisfaction.”
According to BMW, product geniuses are appearing at dealerships in France, the United Kingdom, China and the Netherlands before finally arriving in the United States.
“The objective here is to better support customers with in-depth product knowledge as well as enabling the customer to better utilize and configure products in accordance with their particular needs,” said BMW in a statement. “As the product genius needs to be mobile, he or she will be equipped with a state-of-the-art Information Management System on a tablet device, allowing, for example, product configuration and in-depth explanation of features supported by visuals and films.”
Robertson made an observation that applies to most business ventures in today’s digital economy: “What we have done in the past is definitely, definitely, definitely, not good enough for the future.”

Six steps to winning with the Customer Experience

1. Start by identifying the Moments of Truth (customer interactions)that exist across all of your customer experiences (you can create more specific experience maps later).

2. Make a list of all the Moments of Truth (MOT).For each MOT write a description, method of interaction, and customer expectation.
We use the Diagnostics dashboard to make sure we turn the MOTs into 15 quantifiable and actionable metrics.

There are three ways to collect and collate this information:

  • Workshops of all interested people.
    That includes customers, advisors, employees and management.
  • Recording of actual experiences.
    Yes, record the experiences and evaluate afterwards. We use a video technique that identified Moments of Truth with red flashes, Internal Interactions with blue and decision points as green.
  • Analysis of customer feedback.
    Review the letters, calls and social network commentary and capture the experiences to gain insights and a better understanding.

3. Document the learning and produce a visual illustration(process activity maps).

4. Use the maps to identify areas working well and those that need improvement.Focus on the critical MOTs — those crucial interactions that determine whether the experience you are creating delivers the optimum encounter, expectation and emotion.

5. Build a Action Plan to engineer the ABACUS of the customer experience.
At each stage identify the relevant MOTs that cover off these elements

  • Awareness
    When and How does the customer become aware of the process, product or service you offer?
  • Buy-In
    How and Where does the customer ‘get it’ and become an advocate for the experience?
  • Acquisition
    How is the purchase made. Not just a product buy but the actual commitment.
  • Care
    Why should the customer care? How do you ensure the trust and commitment is reciprocal and reinforced?
  • Use
    How does the product, service work. Has it been designed from the customers perspective (Outside-In)? Ease of use goes beyond efficiency and focuses directly on the actual customer experience.
  • Share
    In our always-on world how does Share happen? Is that understood and optimized? Recall the fantastic tale from Canada – Westjet Christmas story[1] with more than 35 million hits on youtube in 3 months. By the way that is more than the population of Canada! That’s good news, but what about capturing the bad news before it becomes a crisis – recall the United Breaks guitar[2] story?

6. Engage the entire organization to undertake the journey to Customer Experience Management.We use the structured CEMMethod™, derived from the work of companies such as Virgin, Disney, Southwest Airlines, Emirate, BMW, Bentley, Zara and many more truly Outside-In enterprises. Whoever and where-ever you are it is directly and immediately useful.

If you are serious about engineering the Customer Experience then let us know (below). We will provide immediate links to videos, resources and an expert community doing this stuff as a way of life.

[1] Westjet Christmas – a terrific example of sharing your values and ethos –

[2] United Breaks Guitars – how a bad experience turns into a corporate crisis –

Moments of Truth? Eradicate! Only improve a Moment of Truth if you can not remove it.

In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to Apple*. Over a period of 3-4 years he transformed the business into the most innovative company on the planet. One of his mantras was “the customer experience is the process”. Couple that with  ”If you find a Moment of Truth you should remove or improve it”.
Simple ideas that created one of the most successful companies in the universe.
What could you do with your Moments of Truth?

* For a complete transcript and video of that AWWDC 1997 event see here.

Apple service and sales really sucks.

Now don’t get me wrong I have bought and enjoyed every apple device money can buy. Yes I have one of everything and have always loved the customer experience, whether online, in-store or over the phone – until this evening at millennial mall in Orlando.

A busy store as you can see however that’s not unusual, what is though is the effort to convert 600 greenbacks for a new mike and headphones

Issue 1 – asking for help. Is it a new policy to now avoid eye contact with customers?

Issue 2 – when you do track someone down they can’t help, and want to pass you to someone else, already 4 deep with customers. “He will help you in a minute” said the obvious supervisor who ‘s member of staff complained openly that he hadn’t had his break

Issue 3 – “stay here, I will get someone else to help” says Ms. Boss. I wait, and wait but a then obviously harrassed guy to tell me “I will be with you soon” 4 minutes go by and still no help.

Issue 4 – no one cares clearly as I put down the Bowers snd Wilkins P5 headset and the snazzy USB Mike and walk out of the store.

That is it. The end of my relationship with Apple? Guess at least I will not be shopping there again. More so I will move my business to Samsung and give them a chance with my hard earned money.

Has the rot set in?

Outside-In at Apple strikes a chord

BP Group CPP Master® Arun Kumar (with noted technology innovators Gieom in India) comments:

Just saw the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference….and I am overwhelmed by iOS6 features on a phone. They have tied up with the likes of BMW, Honda, Jaguar, Audi to have a SIRI button in the next 12 months in their cars where traffic, weather, turn by turn navigation and Realtime Estimated time to arrive at a destination can be manipulated using voice on the iphone. They are calling it going from handsfree driving to Eyes free driving.
This wouldn’t have been possible if you don’t think outside in…..if you don’t make the process for the experience of the customers and not just for your capabilities. Many I talk to think the innovation is a gamble… frustrating when actually innovation can be achieved by looking at a process and thinking of creating an ecosystem with others to achieve that. But anyway, happy that I can relate to these innovations and think it’s just how you look at your processes and not some design room magic by einstein haired scientists. Thanks for the halo.
(Arun is third from the left)
And thank you Arun for the observation!

The Focus has shifted from Inside-Out to Outside-In

I am frequently asked to summarise the difference between the inside-out industrial/information age mindset, and that of Outside-In (think Apple, Google, Zara, Zappos, Emirates etc.) thinking and practice. So here to answer that request (and from a section in my upcoming new book) is the overview.

Over the following weeks we will delve into each area and I will provide examples and case studies of each aspect of this Copernican shift.

The Focus has shifted from Inside-Out to Outside-In

Industrial/Information Age Customer Age

People Silo’s Multi functional
Specialist Multi skilled
Isolated Relationships
Awards – Time served Awards – Value Created
Autocratic Dynamic (to suit the needs)
Processes Doing things right Doing the right things and doing things right
Manufacturing mindset Customer Experience
Tasks/Activities and Outputs Outcomes and SCO’s
Stocks Flows
Products Services
Left to Right, Top to Bottom Customer Centric
IT Algorithmic Heuristic
Hierarchical Hyperlinked
Analytical Understanding
Ownership Access
Strategy Top Down Inclusive
Structured and Rigid eg 5 yr plans Agile and Adaptive
Tablets of stone Continual Alignment to SCO’s
Market/product focus Customer/expectation focus
Customers Uninformed Prosumer
Loyal Promiscuous
Forgiving Rebellious
Locked-In Demand Flexibility
Compliant and managed High Expectations and fickle
Single channel Multi channel
(c) 2012 Steve Towers

Next week we’ll start by reviewing the Customer Aspect

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