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Customer Centric

15 Customer-First Habits for Everyone

May 24, 2012

I had the good fortune this week to facilitate a Business Leader Roundtable at the offices of our own local Puget Sound Business Journal here in Seattle (event details here). This is one of my favorite ways to hear about the challenges that businesses have today. This one reinforced a lot of what we already knew about what it takes to be "Customer-First". There are a few "Universal Truths" about this topic that always come up in these discussions:

1. It is a RARE C-Suite team that will actually acknowledge they have gaps in providing excellent customer experiences (and research backs that up, as you'll see).Drucker Quote

2. Those that do will find it VERY easy to identify gaps and apply common-sense solutions to make corrections quickly (Like many solutions to our problems, admitting you have one is the hardest part!).

3. Finally, there is an "Aha!" moment that hits when everyone realizes that being "Customer-First" is not a policy, but a common-sense culture that EVERYONE has to own and live every day.

Why? Because that drives better financial performance, reduces employeet churn and just generally creates a lot happiness for everyone involved...

So with that...here are a few good habits for EVERYONE in your organization. Pick two or three that relate to what you do and start doing them today. You'll enjoy you work more and your customers will enjoy you more as well.


  • Mentor, Don’t Manage
  • Get Your Hands Dirty
  • Find Your “Guarantee” as a motivator


  • Team Building: Hire for attitude, not just skills
  • Management is: The humility to replace yourself
  • Making sure everyone feels their back is covered


  • Make it part of the Culture, not a Silo
  • Execute with a “B2Me” philosophy, keep it personal
  • Talk about yourself, not something abstract


  • Define “Productivity” around your customer
  • Simplify goals and measurement for staff
  • Use process to break down missed priorities

Technology (and Products too)

  • Mission, process, governance – then build it
  • Map it to customer behavior, not the other way around
  • Your ears are the best innovation tool

What is the cumulative result of everyone doing their part to design your business around the customer? Better performance - by any way you measure it. By being "Customer-First", you also create a great place to work. Out friends at "Great Place to Work" provide some amazing data every year that highlights just how much better these companies outperform the "Not So Great Places to Work". Get a few data tidbits here from them: Customer-First Benefits

Now which habit will you start with today? Feel free to contact me if you need a suggestion or two...

For a more detailed look at what makes a "Customer-First Business", download the White Paper here and also see what are the four habits required of CxOs that make the most difference. David can be reached at david@fennec.co

Be sure to download the 15 Customer-First Habits Checklist.  It is free and ready to download.