Apple was the surprising bad example that popped up this week that helped me answer a common "Customer-First" question.
“Customer-First” is a good buzzword in some circles recently, particularly among those working in the “Customer Experience” space. It’s a word that I originally picked up while working in Japan managing the Lands’ End operations there in the 1990’s. We were looking for an easier way to simplify what we stood for in order to get all of our Japanese colleagues on board with what the essence of Lands’ End was. Believe it or not, the “Japanized” version “カスタマー・ファースト” is what we used before I made a habit of using it in English. As a department manager however, it was electrifying to see what the impact was of having such a simple, clear mission for everyone. The one thing I learned above all else and that will come through on these pages going forward was that going out of your way for a customer is actually the most efficient business model there is.
NOTE: This post was originally submitted as guest content on 18 Oct, 2011 for the Balancing Business and Law Blog sponsored by Equinox Law Group
There are many facets to creating a “Customer-First” business culture. Every part of your business should feel responsible for its customers and constantly redesign itself around behaving that way. Three core areas I always focus on are Management, Marketing and Sales, and Operations. These core functions can make high-impact changes that can generate improved customer experiences, better employee morale and higher margins through improved sales. For every major function or process in your business, the question should be asked – “How to I design this around my customer”?