Ever since marketing figured out that companies could do better by asking customers what they wanted, rather than just trying to tell them, businesses have moved massively to the notion of working backwards from the customer.
Indeed, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, declared, ‘‘We start with the customer and we work backward.
We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer.’’
It seems like business continuity planners could take a leaf out of the marketing playbook and ask customers what they would like to see in terms of their provider’s business continuity.
But is that enough?
Smart marketers (the really smart ones) realise two more things. First, they may have to dig deeper to uncover customer needs that don’t always make it to the surface in the initial customer interview process.
Second, there may be some things customers need, but of which they are simply not aware, and which marketers can only uncover by “walking a mile in the customer’s shoes”.
Similarly, business continuity managers may need to conduct some advanced thought experiments involving customers’ businesses, to make sure that BC plans and objectives of their own company meet both the obvious and less obvious needs of their customers.
As a bonus (and a return on the time and effort invested), a company that can show its customers how much its own business continuity program is attuned to their needs will score points that allow it to do more and better business with those customers.
The same is true of proposals the company makes to prospective customers, where BC statements can be tailored to match the specific situations of those prospects.
When price and product specifications lose their power to differentiate a company’s offering from its competitors, other factors like business continuity positioning could be the edge that tips the commercial balance in a company’s favour.