Age of the Customer


FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Age of the Customer’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such a fun, passionate, customer-focused panel to speak on this ‘Age of the Customer’ topic. Clearly their focus on the customer helps them better understand the needs and motivations of internal and external customers. The far-ranging conversation covered the drivers which lead to the empowerment of the customer, including the infrastructure development and technology advancement which influenced this trend:

  • The hardware and software advancements 
  • The networking and bandwidth advancements 
  • The big data, AI, database advancements
  • The sensors, IoT, and other data-generating devices and things

Indeed, the world has become more connected, the customers more empowered. Our panelists agreed that the challenge now is not getting the data, but filtering the data for relevancy; not retrieving the data, but how quickly we can get access to the right data; not creating simple if-then scripts around the data, but creating and continually updating programs to proactive receive and act on relevant data, so we can make real-time inferences and decisions, sometimes when the stakes are very high.

In this age of the customer, proactive companies:

  • invite customers to provide input on current and anticipated problems 
  • integrate historical, customer and market data to better anticipate future needs
  • synthesize data to add strategic value for each customer
  • help internal and external customers better navigate changes in market and technology trends

Below is advice provided by our panelists on how to better serve customers:

  • Be proactive. Err on the side of action. 
  • Don’t let ‘best’ be the enemy of ‘better’. 
  • Align stakeholders on a common cause – the needs of the customer.
  • Be fluid, be open. Don’t be complacent.
  • Invite the feedback and participation from the naysayers.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Be persistent – go over, go around, go through if you must.
  • Build communities.
  • Build relationships.
  • Leverage data and metrics to better understand and address the needs of the customer. 
  • Embrace failure as a lesson in succeeding. But if you must fail, fail fast. Don’t hang on to long to something that will fail. 

We concluded by remarking that serving customers will be more efficient, even as customers becoming more demanding for personalized solutions. So automation, ingenuity and programming will be key. However, humans will always be necessary. There will be no substitute for the human connection. Humans will always be needed to make those decisions, to solve for new problems, to come up with those creative solutions, in this age of the customer.

Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s October 11 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Age of the Customer’ and our gracious hosts at Pure Storage.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Donelle Block, Director, Global Support Operations, Pure Storage, Inc.
  • Panelist Lauren Larson Diehl, Sr. Director, Customer Success Management Global Program Office, Oracle
  • Panelist Shikha Mittal, Director, Product Management & Strategy, VMWare 
  • Panelist Meena Narayanan, Vice President – People & Culture, Livongo Health
  • with opening remarks by Bill Cerreta, General Manager, Platform BU, Pure Storage

See bios and invitation at

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