It is easy to believe that the rules for building a successful business have suddenly changed because we are in the midst of a truly unprecedented situation. While the world may be upside down right now, keeping your customers at the center of your business strategy is more important than ever.
That means finding creative ways to connect with your customers and think deeply about what they need when the world changes before our eyes.
As a small local example, Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts offers same-day delivery to neighborhoods in the Boston area for a fee of $ 5 and a minimum purchase price of $ 20.
This is a difficult situation and a way to keep in touch with customers while keeping business in difficult times. It is something your most loyal customers will surely remember when we return to an appearance of normalcy – and it is simply a great community service.
When you hear from executives from the world's most successful technology companies whether they are Jeff Bezos on Amazon or Marc Benioff from Salesforce, these two managers are constantly pushing their organizations to put the customer first.
At Amazon, this manifests itself in the company motto that it is always day 1. This motto means that they never become complacent and can always put the customer first. In his letter to shareholders in 2016, Bezos described what he meant:
There are many ways to center a company. You can focus on competitors, you can focus on products, you can focus on technology, you can focus on business models and there is more. In my opinion, the obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective vitality of day 1.
Benioff runs his company with a similar worldview, and it's no coincidence that both companies are so successful. In his recent book Trailblazer, Benioff wrote about the importance of tireless customer focus:
Nothing a company does is more important than dealing with customers. In a world where online portals replace customer service centers and algorithms replace people at the forefront, companies like ours have to keep showing that the personal connections our customers craved were still there – and always would be.
In our current crisis, this focus is becoming increasingly important and universal. In his last interview before his death in January, Clayton Christensen, author of the pioneering book Innovator & # 39; s Dilemma, told MIT Sloan Management Review that customer focus was certainly an important factor in their success, even though these organizations had other things to do with them.
They have built up all the organizations that have focused on the customer and their task. They have also demonstrated the ability to manage emerging strategies well. However, they were also fortunate that their core business grew at phenomenal speeds, and they had the Founder's presence to help and personally engage in important strategic decisions.
While you don't want to look like you're taking advantage of a bad situation, there are ways you can help your customers by thinking about new ways to engage and help them in a difficult time. Many companies will be offering free services over the next few months to help customers overcome the financial uncertainty we face in the short term. Others publish free content and access other resources on websites.
While some customers will simply run out of money in the coming months, those who do have different needs than before, and you have to be ready to address them, whatever that means for your business.
This virus will force us to think about many ways we do business, society and life. However, if you keep your customers at the center of all your decisions in the midst of such a crisis, you will be the cornerstone of a successful business if we return to normal.