Trying to ensure the customer gets the attention she deserves within your company?

Striving to make yours a customer-centric company? How does the customer become the center of attention for your organization? What tools should you have in your customer-centric toolbox?

There are many, but one of my favorites is “the empty chair,” which is a seat at the table for the customer and a reminder that we should always be considering if the decisions we make are in the best interest of the customer or of the business.

Jeff Bezos is the one leader who is well known for regularly having an empty chair in meetings to represent the customer, i.e., “the most important person in the room.” Why does he do that? Because you ought to be making decisions about the business based on what’s best for the customer. After all, you are in business to create and to nurture customers.

While the empty chair is a great approach to making sure management thinks outside in versus inside out, there are other tools that can be used, as well. Here are a few others:

  • Personas on every wall: these help to remind employees who the customer is, what she’s trying to do, her pain points, what delights her, etc. – again, keeping her front and center in all you do
  • Customer cut-outs: place these around the office – and especially in meeting rooms –  to keep the attention on who really matters; they should include details of who the customer is and what she thinks and feels about the current experience
  • CCO/CX professionals: in key decision-making meetings, especially, there needs to be a representative from the CX team present to represent the customer voice and perspective
  • A real customer: imagine that! ask a customer (or multiple customers) to attend a meeting in which you’ll be making decisions critical to the customer experience
  • Customer feedback: have you gotten feedback about the product or the touchpoint you’ll be discussing; share it with meeting attendees so they understand how customers feel about the current experience
  • Journey maps: this might seem like a stretch, but if you can show executives/employees how the changes they plan to make impact the experience through truly walking in customers’ shoes, then that’s a powerful tool to have at your disposal, too

How many of these has your company adopted? To build that customer-centric culture, to get the entire organization to live and to breathe the customer, you should really be using all of them. And more.

When you’re trying to make an important decision, and you’re sort of divided on the issue, ask yourself: ‘If the customer were here, what would she say?’ -Dharmesh Shah