IsThe Customer The Means Or The End?

by Jay Deragon on 03/21/2012

Everywhere I turn I hear about how important the customers is to success. Really? It is like the 21st century created a new consciousness about the value of customers. The fact is that the customer has been and always will be the only reason you are in business, period!

The Customer Is The Center of Your Universe

When starting a new business or trying to improve an old business the place to start is in the center. In the center is the customer. Everything ought to evolve around the customer. Your offering, technology, people, messaging, organizational structure…simply put everything should start and end with the customer.

Amazon lives and breathes the customer’s point-of-view. It completely engineers its business practices, its systems, and its people to support it. When they make a mistake, they admit it and they fix it. Immediately. Once, when I had a problem with a new TV that turned out to be a manufacturing flaw, the company begged me to let them pick up the unit, send something else, and install it for me. That was more solution than I needed, let alone asked for.

It’s not just Amazon’s prices that are better, in other words.  Its customer service is superior in every way.  And unlike traditional retailers, it recognizes its own potential disadvantages and innovates ways to overcomes them.  The company has no retail locations to pick up merchandise, but it ships instantly, often for free.  It has no on-site sales experts to answer questions, but the pages of its products are filled with videos, FAQs, and customer reviews and answers.

The company keeps track of all previous orders, and uses its database to make helpful recommendations of other purchases.   Phone support is instant, responsive, and knowledgeable.  Returns are simple and unburdened by restocking fees and other gotchas.  Inventory is precisely managed in a single system that spans all distribution points and third party partners. via – Forbes.

The Means or The End?

Putting the customer in the center of your universe sound logical but most organizations put the customer on the outside of their universe.  Ever wonder why? The answer is simple. Most view the customer as the means to an end, money. In philosophy, the term means to an end refers to any action (the means) that the sole purpose of it is to achieve something else (an end). Most organizations view the customer simply as an object from which revenue can be derived. The same is true as to how most organizations view employees.

The customer, including employees, are the beginning and the end of all business processes. Money is only the result of how well you manage the interactions.

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