Forward-looking focus: Can firms have adaptive foresight?

Valarie A. Zeithaml, Ruth N. Bolton, John Deighton, Timothy L. Keiningham, Katherine N. Lemon, J. Andrew Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Customer metrics are pivotal to assessing and monitoring how firms perform with customers and other publics. The authors contend that customer metrics used by firms today are predominantly rear-view mirrors reporting the past or dashboards reporting the present. They argue that companies need to and can develop "adaptive foresight" to be positioned to predict the future by exploiting changes in the business environment and anticipating customer behavior. They address the need for adaptive foresight by synthesizing and integrating literature on customer metrics, customer relationship management, customer asset management, and customer portfolio management. They begin by reviewing the metrics that have been and are currently being used to capture customer focus. Next, they discuss possible "headlight" or forward-looking customer metrics that would allow firms to anticipate changes and provide opportunities to increase the value of the customer base. They then identify the conditions under which the new metrics would be appropriate and offer a process for developing adaptive foresight. The authors close by discussing the implications of adaptive foresight for successful customer asset management that increases long-run business performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-183
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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