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HP Chief Commercial Officer On Keeping The Focus On Customers And Partners

Christoph Schell, who became HP's first-ever chief commercial officer in November, says the company is not slowing down, and plans to launch a revised partner program this spring.

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How does the new model relate to your partner program?

What we're working on right now is, how does this translate in the future on how we want to interact with our partners? So we are revising our partner program. And we are going to share that in the next two months with our partners before we then launch it on May 1. This is all about HP fostering a relationship with partners that is strong, but also based on data that we exchange between partners and HP to drive value proposition that matters to our customers. We've talked about this "segment of one" strategy, where we basically want to make sure that we understand the future needs of each and every single customer that we have--whether it's in a consumer setting or the commercial setting--and then be able to proactively offer solutions to a future need of a customer. For us at HP it is super important that we understand the customer journey, and that we also understand the usage of our products. Obviously customers need to opt in, in order for us to be able to use that, but I think all of that is a continuum in how we deliver value to those customers. I think that's very promising.

What would be some examples of this "segment of one" opportunity?

For one example, we have an Instant Ink offering in most of our markets where customers can choose whether they want to pay $2.99 a month, or $4.99 or $9.99, and they get an amount of pages per month for that subscription. It is highly popular -- we have loyalty rates of customers well into the 90s. It's a really high retention rate. What we're doing is proactively making sure that they don't run out of ink--maybe in the future on toner as well. But let's assume you opted in, and I get to know your printing patterns a little bit more. I know for example that you have a group of friends or a large family, and before the holidays you want to prepare holiday cards. I can make available to you not just the ink, but I can make available the cards, the envelopes, maybe even the stamps. That's what we are talking about with "segment of one."

We could do the same in a personal systems setting, where we have customers that have variations of CPU usage based on what they are doing. Are they using the laptop for work, for email, or are they using their laptops to play games? We can then offer a service that is scalable based on the usage of that customer. So when we talk about "segment of one." And the only way for us to deliver that is in close interaction with our partners.

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