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Mila D'Antonio | June 5, 2013

Having the Guts to Take Risks, and the Willingness to Invent on Behalf of Customers

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I recently came across an interview with Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos, in which he was quoted this: "What's dangerous is not to evolve...You have to have a willingness to fail.... It's not enough to just listen to customers; you have to invent on their behalf."

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Often times, success in business happens when companies have the ability and eagerness to look at their customers and work backwards.

Today we announce the winners of the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards in the EMEA/APAC region, and I found that they all share a common bond around this theme of moving forward despite the risks involved and inventing on behalf of the customers.

Within the overarching common goals of these companies, they also share some thematic objectives on becoming customer centric, which include having executive support, aiming for channel integration, acting on customer feedback, holding employees accountable, and in some cases, deploying sophisticated technologies and analysis tools to decipher the information they gather and get it to the right people to make the right decisions on behalf of customers.

In the Customer Analytics category, for example, Turkish bank Akbank, embarked on a cross-channel analytics initiative that aimed to analyze channel propensities, churn and retention behaviors, and cross-sell and upsell opportunities for a gain of 2.4 million products sold through 2012.

Orange Polska, in the Customer Experience Category, had an ambitious goal of becoming the most-loved telecommunications operator in Poland by 2015. With the support of its chief customer officer, the company successfully collected feedback and tied it to employee performance, making them responsible for the customer experience and reversing its negative NPS trend.

In the Customer Service category, Australian financial service firm AMP integrated data from across the enterprise into a single source of information, even incorporating its call scripts with the aim of decreasing site abandonment and increasing time on site.

In Integrated Marketing, Greek telecommunications provider Cosmote adopted a customer-centric strategy to maintain its competitive edge. By deploying the tools necessary to gather data from across channels and to analyze it to make the right offer at the right time, Cosmote can now better understand each customer's needs.

Porsche, which won in the Sales Force Effectiveness category, invested in strengthening its sales funnel through a program that aimed to identify all relevant customer touchpoints and incorporated them into the funnel, better preparing sales executives for customer consultations.

And in the Social & Mobile Effectiveness category, Migros, the Turkish supermarket chain, wanted to enhance its social engagement so it integrated its customer loyalty program customer information with their Facebook accounts for an increase in average spend in stores and a greater fan base on Facebook.

Congratulations to the winners of the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards, EMEA/APAC! You can read their case studies here and please visit 1to1 Media throughout this week and next when the 1to1 Media editorial team will offer their insights and commentary on the winners. Also, I'll be tweeting live from Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit where we'll announce the winners after the morning keynote. Follow along at #GartnerCRM.

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