For years, business school programs, management training sessions and business theory gurus have told us how important it is to be customer-focused. We have been told that successful companies are those that put the customer at the center of all efforts. How do truly customer-centric businesses get to be that way and how do they differ from those that struggle with this issue?

There are a number of factors that go into making a successful customer- focused organization. One of the key factors is greater customer intelligence and the effective use of that intelligence. Businesses have long been collecting customer data, mostly basic information such as names, addresses, order history and so on. However, turning the data into something meaningful has proved to be a more difficult problem.

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