Reexamining Why You're In Business

Marketing podcast with Harley Manning (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

I think most of us would agree that the reason our businesses exist is to exchange value with a customer for payment. Now, that’s not the same as why we are in business, but it plays a part.

happy halloween

photo credit: wwarby

I wonder how often, however, we really think about putting the customer first. I know it’s very popular to say that’s the case and, if you really get down to it, there is no business without a customer, but are we putting the strategic emphasis there?

I know for a fact that when I stay locked up in my office hatching all my evil plans in a vacuum it’s easy to make decisions on what seems best for me. But, when I get out there and meet face to face with the real people I’m doing all of this for, my perspective changes dramatically.

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visit with Forrester’s head enterprise-level customer experience research and author Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business – Harley Manning.

Sure, putting customers at the center of your business sounds logical enough, but are we doing it?

Manning suggests a number of disciplines that are required to do this and while he often writes in the language of enterprise, every business can learn from these findings.

In my mind a customer centric business is first and foremost an employee centric business and an employee centric business starts with an overall strategy that puts that forces the customer to the center.

To complicate matters more, I believe that the only way this happens is when the owner of the business truly believes this at the core and lives it in every word and action. And even when that exists, it takes constant reexamination and process to make it so publicly.

Have you reexamined why you’re in business lately?

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  • Wayne Liew

    You need your customers more than your customers need you. Love the quote and I like the case studies brought up by Harley! We, as the ones at the top of our business, need to start talking to our customers or clients more and if possible, experience more of the experience that our customers go through with us.

    I also think businesses without a strong culture of delivering stellar customer experience tend to focus on quick fixes for customer issues. Oh, a customer is complaining about a long delivery process, give them a voucher. Hmm, she is unhappy about the price that we quoted, give her a discount. Will this make the complaint stop? Yes. But will the unhappy customer return? Probably not.