Chuck Wall is the founder of Customer CEO, the customer thinking company. He believes that the most important business opportunity for most companies is hidden in plain sight: knowing their customer. Chuck hopes to help companies by sharing that message through this book.
What inspired you to write Customer CEO?
In my work of starting companies, working with clients, and advising other companies, I’ve had the good fortune to end up interviewing over 100,000 of my clients’ customers. Over time, I began to see a discernible pattern occurring and I felt it was time to tell the story of the power that I feel customers really have over companies. Many companies today don’t really get that. It’s a concept intuitive to those of us living in the social-commerce age, but not to others. The book is to address that, and to help companies understand the power of their customers and to build a better future for their brands.
What has been your favorite part of the writing and publishing process?
My favorite part of this has been going through the process of researching and gathering information on each of the companies we selected. We painted vivid illustrations of what we call the Customer CEO “Champions,” the companies which succeed because they go to great lengths to understand their customers. I really enjoyed digging into the backstories of these companies: Why Ikea does what they do, the secrets of Apple’s customer service success, and even the policies of smaller companies and how they are effective and memorable.
Were there any unexpected challenges in writing the book?
The biggest hurdle for me was summarizing relatively complex information into bite-size pieces. Some of the areas I explored dealing with customer insights, anthropology, and ethnography are so large and multi-faceted. One of the challenges I faced was taking that information, synthesizing it, and turning it into a narration.
If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
Between the extensive research period and relatively quick writing period, I had some really long days. I had a lot of great material to work with and wanted to select the best for the book.
What’s next for you? Career-related goals? More books in your future?
I’ve thought of many other ideas that I would love to explore further, many of which came out of this project. But I feel I have a lot of work to do around this book. For me, it’s a two-part process:
1. Stop seeing things from their own point of view, and
2. Listen to the customer’s point of view.
These steps seem obvious, but they are something so few of us do well. I want to spread the message and methodology of Customer CEO and help companies better understand their customers and strengthen their brands.