With this in-house preparation and evaluation complete, Eastman was equipped with an informed internal perspective of their customer value proposition. Next, we carried out four customer stakeholder interviews with representatives from across the predetermined customer regions where Eastman’s products and services were used in their operations. These facilitated sessions uncovered the customer’s perspective of the differential value received from Eastman. To Eastman’s surprise, much of the value they believed was realized by the customer, was not differential relative to competition. They learned that the differential value was, instead, distinct across the regions, as each region had discrete priorities and value drivers.
The customer validation interviews produced customer insight and competitive intelligence which exposed that the differential value was limited and that important steps needed to be taken to move the partnership forward. In fact, some of the drivers of differential value that Eastman had identified, were considered by the customer as “expected” or “table stakes.” Most importantly, the validation interviews functioned as the catalyst to create a roadmap that would ensure timely execution toward meeting all baseline expectations and, over time, to surpassing expectations through the delivery of differential value.
Despite the sobering findings, the investment Eastman made into gaining an authentic and fact-based understanding of their relationship with the client was a worthwhile one.
Eastman discovered that the opportunities to deliver differential value to this important customer varied by region – while supply and logistics presented the prospect for growth in EMEA, technical services and products proved to have potential in North America; and, Asia Pacific revealed significant opportunities in the areas of supply, logistics and products.
In addition, the customer responded by identifying another 13 market-specific, high-priority opportunities that were previously unknown to Eastman yet presented the prospect for the team to deliver measurable value.
It was only after Eastman demonstrated their genuine intent to cultivate a winning relationship with the customer, designed to produce organic growth and profitability for both companies, that a true collaboration was formed.