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Entrepreneur bites - Five-minute lessons - Thinking from the customer's point of view

A company can exist thanks to its customers. As an entrepreneur, you must not lose sight of them. At Amazon, they know better than anyone that customer focus is extremely important. At every meeting, Jeff Bezos places an empty chair representing the customer, so that no one forgets that everything revolves around the customer. A little ridiculous perhaps, but the tone has been set. As a founder, you have to make sure that this is the case if you (that many) people. We all tend to think of ourselves first, when the central question should be: what is best for the customer?

Good service as a building block

When looking for an answer to a problem, we often look for the most efficient solution. While it is not efficiency, but customer satisfaction that is the key to success. Even though it feels counterproductive, sometimes - from the customer's point of view - it is better to keep something manual and not automate it. A process does not always have to be more efficient or cheaper, but it should always be of good quality. Providing good service to the customer is an enormous marketing driver.

The question

For a one-man business, it is probably easier to put the customer first than for an entrepreneur with employees who also come up with ideas. For CEOs of larger organisations, the trick is to consider everything that is thought up: what does this mean for the customer? You can do this exercise in your head. Ask yourself: does this development really add value for the customer? After all, the customer comes first!

The answer

If the answer is that a step has no impact on the customer (for example: no extra costs), but that it does improve efficiency within the organisation, then it is logical to take this step. If you notice that the development will have an impact on your customers, then it is important to know whether this will be negative or positive for them. Customer satisfaction comes first.

A challenge

Does this sound obvious? It should be, but thinking from the customer's point of view is actually still done far too little. Everyone can think of a situation in which he or she has lost out as a customer. Large monopoly players in particular often focus too much on their own convenience and too little on the convenience of the customer.

Many founders start their company because they experience a problem that they want to solve for themselves and others. Then, when the company grows and different people involved have different ideas for the company, those founders sometimes tend to make it less easy for the customer, to the benefit of the organisation. It just creeps in. And so you have to think again and again about what a decision means for the customer.

The task of the CEO

No matter how big your organisation becomes, as CEO you must continue to steer the business. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the owner: you have to evaluate every idea that is put forward to see if it is based on the customer's needs. In this way, you build your products and services around the wishes of the customer - and your company becomes extra profitable.