Question #1. Damn it!

Chatting with execs after my talk yesterday at SpeechTEK, the voice industry tradeshow. The story … ALWAYS THE SAME! They invariably must initially justify projects on the basis of potential cost savings—in their case, such as the savings at call centers if you implement voice-based service-automation.

I am hardly opposed to saving money! But, in my view, in 9 of 10 cases it’s putting the cart before the horse. You see, I’m a “Top-line Guy.” My first question, instinctively, is, “HOW WILL THIS PROJECT ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN A WAY THAT WILL IMPLEMENT ‘DRAMATIC DIFFERENCES’ FROM OUR COMPETITORS SO THAT WE CAN CAPTURE NEW CUSTOMERS, RETAIN OLD CUSTOMERS & GROW THEIR BUSINESS, BUILD OUR BRAND INTO A LOVEMARK … AND KICK-START THE ‘TOP LINE’?”

In my case, I am a “premium brand.” I am top-line obsessed: How does “this” (whatever!) build brand value? I pour over my P & L, fret about costs, savagely attack costs every now and again … but the first item I look at is … GROSS REVENUE. If “GR” is growing at a healthy clip, a multitude of sins can be papered over. I just wish I could imbue more Lead Dogs with my TLO/Top Line Obsession!

Tom Peters posted this on February 24, 2005, in Excellence.
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