I once gave a talk called “Customer CEO” to a crowd of healthcare executives. I advised every CEO to put a special chair in their meeting room labeled “CUSTOMER” and to consult with that customer persona on every significant business decision.
My premise was this: Always think about what’s best for your customer. What’s best for them will likely be best for you too. Therefore, give your customer voice a seat at the table, literally.
Imagine every time your team was making product or marketing decisions, you asked this: What would be best for our customers?
It’s a simple and very powerful question that too often does not get asked. Sometimes it doesn’t get asked because companies don’t genuinely care. For others, it’s getting so caught up in internal concerns – detailed product specs, managing multiple workflows, social media decisions – that they lose sight of what would best serve their customers.
A simple way to keep your customer front and center is to ensure they have a permanent presence. That they are always seen and heard. That what’s best for them is a critical and explicit factor in your decision-making.
I challenge you to do this experiment for one week.
- Set up a customer chair in your office or meeting room and clearly label it “Customer.”
- When you are making business decisions, talk to your imaginary customer. Voice its response. Let it ask questions of you and your team.
- Give your imaginary customer a vote in your decisions.
- Share your results by commenting on this post.
I think you’ll notice how powerful a simple reminder of your customer can be, and how profoundly it can affect your thinking and decision-making.