Customer Intimacy

Posted by Ed O’Hare
on March 9, 2010

As many of you already know, we now have a new Administrator at GSA!  I want to welcome Martha Johnson, and I think the fact that she is on-board promises many positive things for us at ITS.

I was lucky enough to attend Martha’s swearing in ceremony last month, during which she shared some of her cutting-edge thinking on how we can continue to improve as an organization.  During her remarks Martha referred to the work of Fred Treacy and Mike Wiersema, the authors of the book, The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market.  They have argued that a great organization must be all of the following:

1) Intimate with Customers,

2) Innovative, and

3) Operationally Excellent.

Her vision, which I share, is for GSA to become the kind of organization that excels at each of these.

What I really connected to is her ideas on customer intimacy. Customers are at the heart of our business, and I have focused on building our customer engagement capabilities since my arrival at ITS last year.  I have put in place a number of initiatives, and I think we are making progress. To me, customer engagement means developing strong relationships – through active listening – which allow us not only to fully understand and respond to our customers’ current requirements, but to anticipate their future needs.

Recently, we capitalized on strong professional relationships to develop the innovative COMSATCOM partnership with DISA; and our conversations with customers indicate an upcoming need for solutions related to Cybersecurity and Sustainability. Now we must deliver those innovations with excellence – the last ingredient to sustaining valued customer relationships.

So, what about you? I am interested in hearing from those we serve – other federal agencies, industry, and stakeholders – about what customer intimacy means to you.  Please use the comments section and let me know.  I look forward to hearing your ideas and continuing this conversation.

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