Do you know what or where the most important two feet are in your business?

With a hat tip to my friend Stan Phelps and his concept of “the longest and hardest 9 inches in employee engagement,” I thought I’d take a look at the toughest – yet most important – two feet in business.

Can you guess what or where they are?

If you guessed the two feet on your customers, you’re right; they are the most important two feet in your business. After all, they are the reason you are in business, right?

The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. -Peter Drucker

And they are the toughest two feet. Why? Because they have expectations for the types of experiences they’ll have with your brand. If those expectations aren’t met or if the experience is poor, they’ll walk elsewhere.

Those two feet, they can vote. They can vote to stay or to come back again if they love what they see or experience, and they can vote to leave or to never return if they are wronged. They can vote to bring friends along the next time they shop, or they can vote to walk friends to a competitor’s establishment.

The other day, I came across the Law of Two Feet from Harrison Owen, as outlined in his “Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide,” and while its original application had to do with meetings, I think it applies to the customer experience, as well:

If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.

When the relationship is no longer mutually beneficial, when it’s one-sided and opportunistic, customers use their two feet. They vote. They go shop somewhere else. What are you doing to ensure that potential, current, and future customers’ two feet grace your doorway and continue to do so?


As you know, I believe that the employee experience precedes the customer experience. As such, the other two feet that are important to your business: your employees’. Employees have the same ability to vote with their feet. And when employees vote with their feet, that trickles out to your customers.

Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply. -Steve Jobs