Friday, December 2, 2011

Customers of the Future, We Are Listening

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

How well do you know your current customers? Or perhaps a better question is how well do you know your future customers?
Concordia Publishing House (CPH), a 2011 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, believes it is listening to the voice of its customers and positioning itself to produce innovative products for the future. With overall customer satisfaction scores of 98 percent plus, the St. Louis, Missouri-based publishing arm of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is using the Criteria for Performance Excellence to guide its sustainability into the future.
“With God’s grace, CPH has achieved a level of excellence that few major corporations realize," says Dr. Bruce G. Kintz, President & CEO. "As a Christian organization we are humbled by our achievements and as a thriving publishing house we are proud to represent both innovation and sustainability in this ever-changing marketplace.”
One way that CPH addresses that ever-changing marketplace is through its Emerging Products team that explores the use of state-of-the-art technologies to deliver new and innovative products such as eBooks, iPhone/iPad releases, church management software, and Web-based curriculum builders that can be customized. The number of electronic products (eProducts) offered by CPH increased from 457 in 2008 to 1,927 in 2010.
The 139-year-old organization also uses voice-of-the-customer procedures to gather input from customers for compliments, product ideas, and complaints. Through the Center for Client Retention, CPH addresses market shifts in loyalty by collecting and analyzing data from customers of competitors, and then categorizing sales and customer trends in more than 50 different ways to identify relationships between certain products sales and types of customers.
CPH and other Baldrige Award winners will be sharing best practices at the 24th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference in April 2012. What better place to learn and share best practices on how to understand your future customers?

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