Focus on your Customer

Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco’s speech at the World Business Forum

Tesco’s core purpose – to create a benefit to customers across 2 tenets – Treat customers the way they want to be treated and deliver them what they want

Simple but clear strategy to: grow the UK food business, to expand internationally, to become strong in general merchandise and to follow new customers into new markets

These 4 aims all require unending focus on the customer – you can never know enough about what customers are thinking

There is a saying at Tesco – one thing worse than knowing is knowing and not doing! Everything is shaped by the customers. As customers change Tesco needs to change.

They use the balanced scorecard (called the Tesco “steering” wheel) – 5 parts into equal weight – customers, community, finance, operations and people. The system is powerful because it is simple. Simplicity it the most powerful tool in business.

Since they created the steering wheel – the world has changed and so has Tesco. By focusing on what customers want they have been able to grow their business into new areas such as; online groceries, financial services, and new formats of shops.

None of this would be possible without a strong leadership team on the ground – with 160,000 people fewer than 200 are from the UK, 80% of all promotions must come from within.

6 things he would highlight:
– Always be looking to serve your customers better
– Make everything simple
– Implementation matters as much as Strategy
– Think local as tastes and cultures differ around the globe
– In times of change be sure to change yourself
– Trust people and allow them to take risks and innovate

In a downturn such as we are experiencing he left us just two words to focus on – Think Customer – reset your business to what customers need right now. Customers can change faster than companies.

2 comments to Focus on your Customer

  • C. B. Whittemore

    Paul, this must have been a fantatic presentation to experience firsthand. A total customer focus is truly grounding. Thanks for sharing it here and mentioning in on Flooring The Consumer.

  • Paul Dunay

    thanks CB it was a great preso and very refreshing to hear his focus is so much on the customer – almost to the point of why doesn’t everyone else see what I see.

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