Customer Care

Value Creation


Customer Partnership
Involve Customers in the Creation and Refinement of Products and Services

Vadim Kotelnikov

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov



 "Think of the company-client relationship as a partnership rather than two "ships" passing in the night." ~ Arthur Andersen   >>>


Customer Partnership Involve Customers as Co-innovators Customer Engagement Observe Consumers Partner for Profit Virtual Integration Customer Service Customer-driven Innovation 5 Rules for Creating Customer Partnerships Customer Intimacy Customer Parntership


 "Work closely with those that are pushing the edge of the possible and include them in your product development discussions.

What do they want to see in your products?

How they really use them?

What are their dream features?

We regularly seek input from our biggest and most innovative customers. It allows us to build better tools and to ensure that we are bringing solutions to market that fill a need.

However, we're careful to only use this as one source.

The other part of it is knowing when when to purposefully evolve and push people forward beyond what they currently know."

~ John Kaplan, Co-Founder of Weigl Works



10 Commandments of Innovation

10 Extreme Leadership Best Practices

  • Partner with customers: Now, more than ever, customer satisfaction and retention are critical to success. You must partner with your customers, reconnect with them to create a shared future that is more secure than either could have built alone... More

Customer Intimacy

Coach Your Customers

Listen To Your Customer

New Product / Service Design and Development

Co-innovate with Customers and Suppliers

Mutual Creativity in Business Partnerships

Customer Retention

Service-Profit Chain

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Partnership Defined

"Customer partnership is a shared journey to create a future for both parties that is better than either could have developed alone."1 The customer influences every aspect of your business and is the foundation of your organization's success. In today's turbulent times of rapid and chaotic change, "no force is more grounding and stabilizing than a partnership with customers."1 The term 'customer partnership' we take not so much in its legal definition of co-ownership but rather in its sense of  sharing in benefits, profits and losses of your company.

Customer partnership is more than "putting customers first", or  finding mutually satisfactory solutions to shared problems, or  a dedication to excellence in every sale or service encounter. It also requires commitment to forging long-term relationships that create synergies of knowledge, security, and adaptability for both parties.



Why Customer Partnership?

Fierce competition today forces companies to become much more creative and flexible in their dealings with customers to give them exactly what they want faster. Creating a partnership with customers will help your organizations maintain the focus you need to make good decisions and harness the power and commitment you need to weather volatile times. Partnering with customers represents your firm's "capacity to anticipate what customers need even before they know they need it."2

The Role of Corporate Leaders

Because only corporate leaders have the ability to significantly change an organization, design radically new value innovation strategies and deploy the resources required to pursue boldly big opportunities, it is imperative that people at the top be in regular and direct contact with customers.

Increasing Customer Value-added through Virtual Integration

"The more you do for customers, the more of their work that you undertake, the harder it is to to find the line that separates you from them," writes Michael Hammer. "Companies that perform more of their customers' work in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors and earn higher margins are, in effect, integrating themselves into their customer's operations... More

Case Studies  BMW

In partnership with its customers and external innovators, BMW is constantly seeking to discover new technologies and design features to put into future cars. To harvest the insights of creative minds outside the BMW Group, the firm's Virtual Innovation Agency (VIA) is the point of contact for all external innovators who do not as yet have contacts within the firm. VIA makes it easy for car fans to communicate their ideas through its web-site, with additional online discussions that solicit ideas from enthusiasts around the world... More

Case Studies Dell Inc.

Dell Inc. start their innovation process with asking their customers, "What would you really want this thing to do? Is there a different way to accomplish that?" Then they meet with their suppliers and ask, "Can we do this in a different way?" Then they try to come up with a totally different approach that exceeds the original objectives... More

Case Studies Nypro

Nypro designed new injection process for each customer, sharing insights with the customers' own engineering and marketing teams to solve their specific problems. They worked together: partners in innovation. Nypro situated its new plants next door to its customers and integrated its new process with theirs... More

Case Studies Corning

Corning keeps it's customers, end-users and OEM suppliers well informed of its product development plans. It uses road-mapping as a co-innovation tool that allows customers and suppliers to work together to build products... More

Case Studies GE

Involve customers, urged  Jack Welch. Quality program is aimed at enhancing satisfaction of your customers. Find out what customers want. Involve them to participate in your work, to drive it, to "manage your enterprise."... More

Customer-driven Innovation: 7 Practice Tips

Involve customers in testing the prototype of your new product... More




  1. Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmett C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy

  2. Results-Based Leadership, Dave Ulrich, Jack Zenger, and Norm Smallwood

  3. Best Practices: Building Your Business with Customer-Focused Solutions, Arthur Andersen

  4. Agenda, Michael Hammer

  5. Direct from Dell, Michael Dell with Catherine Fredman

  6. Customer Intimacy, Fred Wiersema

  7. It's not the BIG and eats the SMALL... it's the FAST that eats the SLOW, J. Jennings and L. Haughton