‘Our company is customer-focused’ has become one of those marketing phrases which has lost all meaning, along with content-free claims such as ‘market leading’. It meant something once, as some businesses genuinely pivoted to prioritising customer satisfaction as an achievable goal, in the hope that profits would follow. In many cases, it has been a huge success (Amazon’s empty chair strategy is not just a gimmick). But for most businesses, it’s just a sentence to provide some padding on their ‘About Us’ page.
A truly customer-focused company has ‘buy-in’ at every level, including the CEO. As customers, we can tell a business which is serious about the idea: they either do what we expect perfectly, or they’re asking us how they might reach that point. Feedback gives us a clue to their attitudes: I’m delighted to provide feedback to a business which appears to want to learn from what I have to say. That means it’s about me. I detest being part of an employee rating mechanism. That means it’s about them.
In most business to business relationships, the customer has customers of their own. To be a true customer-focused supplier, it’s essential to understand what our customers’ customers want. That way, we can often address issues before they arise, and even offer services before prospects realise they need them.