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Case Studies

Abbott Medical Optics wins NorthFace Service Award

The Challenge

Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) is a leading provider of lenses, insertion systems, laser vision correction systems, and other devices for cataract and refractive surgical procedures, operating in over 25 countries.

While AMO’s technological innovations are cutting edge, the company operates in a market in which their innovative products are quickly imitated by competitors. To win in this copycat market, AMO must attract and retain customers through excellent service.

But while the company proclaimed to be customer-centric, their incremental improvements only led to “me too” customer service and support.

“At company events, we would proclaim that the most important person in the room was the customer,” explains Angelo Rago, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Services at AMO. “In reality, customer service was not part of the team. We were losing sales to competitors due to poor service. As a result, our sales team was focused on customer recovery instead of growth.”

It was time for AMO to innovate their services and support with the same rigor used to create their innovative products.


Strategyn’s Outcome-Driven Innovation approach was key to helping AMO develop a customer-driven strategy. The approach was particularly valuable for service innovation because it takes a very intangible customer experience and makes it more tangible. Just 2 years later AMO was awarded the prestigious Omega Management NorthFace Award which recognizes world-class customer satisfaction.

ANGELO RAGO, Global Customer Services

The Outcome-Driven Innovation process we used for Abbott included five steps:

  • For Abbott Medical Optics, the market was materials managers who are replenishing ophthalmic lens inventory for cataract implant surgery.

  • AMO conducted qualitative interviews with 20 materials managers to create an exhaustive list of their needs, called desired outcomes. They uncovered 83 of them at various steps of the job, from determining lens replenishment needs and returning lenses to the vendor. Twenty-two of these outcomes were related to service and support interactions.

  • AMO surveyed 192 materials managers to quantify the degree to which each outcome was under- or overserved by existing services and support options.

  • AMO segmented their survey results around the desired outcomes—and it turned out that 19 of the 22 service outcomes were underserved. Materials managers were often frustrated by the process of communicating problems to AMO because they didn’t know who to talk to, and the resolution was often slow and cumbersome. AMO’s management team also learned that not having the right lenses on hand for a surgical case was a big problem for materials managers.

  • With insights from the first four steps, AMO was able to bring together sales, technical support, customer service, accounts payable, logistics, and IT infrastructure managers to overhaul their approach to service delivery—in direct response to specific customer needs.

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The result

Thanks to the rigorous Outcome-Driven Innovation process, AMO knew exactly what innovations would take their customer service from “me too” to “out of this world.”

“The Strategyn ODI process is particularly valuable for service innovation because it takes a very intangible customer experience and makes it more tangible,” explains Angelo.

With a thorough understanding of their customers’ specific needs, the company transitioned from a transactional approach to a relationship-based approach to service. Namely, customers now have a single point of contact within AMO that makes sure to quickly resolve the range of issues they may confront.

AMO also created an advanced schedule-planning and inventory management software module that facilitates accurate and timely replenishment of lenses—so no customer finds themselves without lenses on hand for their surgeries.

Customers were immediately impressed by AMO’s service innovation efforts:

  • AMO’s Net Promoter Score increased by nearly 10% in one year.
  • The company’s own survey showed that its customer loyalty index improved by 14 percentage points in one year.
  • AMO was awarded the prestigious Omega Management NorthFace Award, which recognizes world-class customer satisfaction, just two years later. None of it would have been possible without a reliable means of getting to the root of their customers’ needs. As Angelo explains: “Strategyn’s Outcome-Driven Innovation approach was key to helping AMO develop our customer-driven strategy.”

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