How to Always put your Customers First. Great lessons from Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos & Richard Branson

May 19, 2017
Written by: Georgie Mann

 

It is no coincidence that Apple, Amazon and Virgin are consistently voted the greatest companies by their customers. They use the golden key ingredient their focus is ‘customer centric.

You would think that it is a given for all businesses, and yet the evidence still shows a huge gap between what a company believes about how well they are doing and their customers view.

The famous customer experience delivery gap Bain and Company first published in 2005 

customer centricity training

How to Plug that Gap?

In Forbes Magazine, Bain Insights wrote,

‘Creating a customer-centric company is tough in the best of circumstances. You have to rebuild your company’s culture, which means helping employees learn new ways of thinking and acting.  You have to entrust frontline employees with the critical task of generating loyalty and enthusiasm among customers. And you have to teach employees the skills they need to achieve those results.’

How to dramatically increase a company’s bottom line without it costing a huge amount of resources is the most common problem of any business. So, what are the solutions to not only staying in business, but growing it?

 

 

Definition of ‘Client Centric’

‘A specific approach to doing business that focuses on the customer. Client centric businesses ensure that the customer is at the center of a business’s philosophy, operations or ideas. These businesses believe that their clients are the only reason that they exist and use every means at their disposal to keep the client happy and satisfied.’ 

According to Ebenezer Banful from www.mycustomer.com, who Is a Lean Six Sigma trained customer experience practitioner

The evidence that you are customer-centric comes from the customers that matter to you saying that you are, it comes from your ability to pivot and change with the times and it comes from your long-term growing balance sheet.

So customer-centricity is an outcome of when you can’t see any daylight between what you believe, what you practice, what you offer, and what you say about yourself. It’s not soft and fluffy; it’s actually hard, and about humility and performance. It’s not about being all things to all people, it’s about being authentic. The best in business get this, the mediocre want to or try to get it, and the others are playing a race to the bottom where before too long they might not exist.’

Mind the Gap

Like Amazon, developing a ‘culture of metrics’ will help to accurately identify the gap and measure if what you are implementing is closing it.

George Jacob at People Metrics wrote, 

‘You can collect customer feedback in any number of ways, including surveys, interviews, or focus groups. And you can collect customer feedback in a variety of different circumstances, including after key transactions, at events, or when customers unsubscribe from an email list.

Collect your feedback in a way that helps you discover and address small issues immediately, as well as identify larger, complex issues and trends by analyzing aggregate data.’

They believe that customer centricity involves listening to customers throughout their relationship with you.

Social media is where customers often go to vent, so paying attention is vital. Don’t become a company that endlessly asks for feedback (often on the telephone or by text) and never seems to take any notice. Customers feel jaded and even more disgruntled if their requested feedback isn’t heard either.

Kushal Dev | Co-founder of Customer Guru wrote,

‘Here are our top three picks for the most customer centric companies and some lessons on how they manage to be customer-centric despite their size and diversity.

Amazon.com

With the vision statement as, “We seek to become Earth’s most customer centric company”, Amazon truly lives up to its mission by incorporating customer centricity in each activity and decision that it takes.

Despite being such a large organisation, how does Amazon manage to consistently rank amongst the most customer centric organisations in the world? Here is their secret!

  1. Keep your ear to the ground: Every manager at Amazon, including the CEO, spends two days every two years at the customer service desk. This ensures that he/she is listening to the customers and understanding their needs. As a consequence, every single employee has the customer’s perspective in mind all the time. Evidently, this practice helps the entire organisation become more customer centric.
  2. Have a customer centric leader at the helm: Founder and Chief Executive of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos is known to be a customer obsessed leader. His empty chair story is a very famous story among all those who have read about the company. During the earlier board meetings, Bezos would leave a chair empty in the room, asking the executives to assume that it belonged to the most critical and crucial member of the company – the customer. He’d then encourage his employees to take all their decisions bearing the customer in mind.
  3. Innovate with the focus on the customer:Amazon has never left any stone unturned in the process of helping the customer derive maximum gains. From The Kindle to drone delivery, all of Amazon’s innovations are aimed at adding value to the customer. During the development of the Kindle, when one of the Finance executives asked Bezos how much they had to spend on development of the Kindle, Bezos answered by saying “How much do we have?”

Despite being an amazing company, Amazon has had its fair share of controversies. In 2009, Amazon was in the soup when it deleted copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” from the Kindles of its users. Though it had its reasons (they were unauthorised copies), this move left the users furious. Bezos posted a heartfelt apology on Amazon’s forums’.

Watch this 4-minute video of Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO on putting the customer first

Below is Steve Jobs in a short 2-minute video demonstrating dealing with criticism from a customer. His considered response was in no way defensive, even throwing in a touch of humour. It’s even up for debate as to whether being so ‘customer focused’ is the right path. He believes it is – but it is worth seeing how he is not at all dogmatic about his choice.

Carmine Gallo writing in Forbes Magazine, learned 7 valuable customer service lessons from Richard Branson and the Virgin America team. This 6 minute video let’s you learn directly from a seasoned pro who is considered the gold standard in customer service. If you need a reason to watch, the 1st lesson is: ‘Be Visible, don’t get stuck behind a desk.’

Apple stores are the experts on making people feel good. Their customer approach is an acronym of APPLE. Watch Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo, as he divulges how Apple create such popular stores, in fact they are so popular that they are sometimes used for marriage proposals and even weddings. At the heart of this advice is a big culture shift. Your employees work for your customers, not for you.

If you want to achieve massive shifts in your business within a couple of hours. Then we believe we have an easy solution.

At Green Hat People, customer centric training is neither time consuming, nor expensive. Designed around your exact business needs, or more accurately, your customer needs, we create a business game. The game begins prior to the training event and continues afterwards so that the learning can be applied and reinforced.  To give you an idea, a gamified employee engagement competition is implemented to drive action after the meeting. Each participant logs customer centric activities using their smartphone. For a week, all employees compete against each other in how customer centric they are, based on real activities, performed in the field.

We help you to focus on putting your customers first. You can relax knowing that the solutions will appear before, during and after the meeting, through the understanding, insights and shared problem-solving of your employees within our business game process. 

Going forwards the customer centric process can continue, building your customer’s satisfaction, recommendations and repeat business.  With the customer at its centre, your business will create a virtuous circle ensuring your company’s survival and growth. Who knows one day it could be your company voted as one of the best customer centric firms out there with a balance sheet to match.

Richard Branson said, ‘Everything in the end comes down to customer service and the people who are serving you and whether they feel proud of the company.

Discover how we can help you:

  • Understand your customers problem
  • Start implementing solutions on Monday morning
  • Reduce complaints 
  • Develop bespoke training to increase your sales
  • Tap into your employees creative solutions
  • Drive teams to put your customers first

” Very engaging. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”– Securitas
 
To experience how different our training is, call for a free demonstration: 0207 118 1997 or email londoncity@greenhatpeople.com 
 

Sources:

Bain full report on How to Close the Gap: http://www.bain.com/bainweb/pdfs/cms/hotTopics/closingdeliverygap.pdf

https://www.forbes.com/sites/baininsights/2014/02/20/creating-a-customer-centric-company-six-paths-to-learning/#4749866736d6

Client Centric http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/client-centric.asp#ixzz4hKERpSS3

http://www.mycustomer.com/experience/engagement/customer-centricity-its-not-what-you-think-it-is

http://www.peoplemetrics.com/blog/customer-centric-cultures-dont-just-happen

http://www.customerguru.in/worlds-3-most-customer-centric-companies-how-do-they-do-it/#