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The essential metric of customer capitalism is customer outcomes

Stephen Denning (Author of The Leader's Guide to Radical Management (Jossey‐Bass, 2010), The Leader's Guide to Storytelling (2005) and The Secret Language of Leadership (2007). His recent Strategy & Leadership articles were “Masterclass: The reinvention of management” (Vol. 39, No. 2) and “Masterclass: Reinventing management practices for continuous innovation” (Vol. 39, No. 3).)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




Too often top management focuses primarily on inputs and outputs of the firm, but has little daily information about whether customers are being frustrated, satisfied or delighted. However, one of the most critical pieces of information about the future health of an organization concerns the results of what the firm does for its customers, are they delighted or frustrated? This paper aims to address this issue.


The paper discusses six tools that can measure how well the firm is delivering customer value and satisfaction.


The measurement of outcomes and customer delight thus requires more than the adoption of a new set of terminologies and tools. It is a different way of thinking, speaking and acting in the workplace.

Practical implications

Ultimately the tools and the methodologies are less important than the internal conversations surrounding them. This dialog enables the managers and the people doing the work to get inside the mind of customers and focus on what might delight them, and to track whether that is being accomplished.


For those organizations that are learning to thrive in the new era of customer capitalism and have committed themselves to delighting their customers, tools like Net Promoter Score, user stories, value stream and cycle time measurement and social media offer the possibility of seeing what is happening to customer outcomes in real time.



Denning, S. (2011), "The essential metric of customer capitalism is customer outcomes", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 12-18.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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