Should a business focus on its customers, or the ROI of the strategies it implements and the KPIs their employees are responsible for monitoring and exceeding? I’m sure this is overly simplistic, and perhaps these need not be mutually exclusive, but I gravitate towards the former. An obsessive focus on those you serve often results in delighted customers, positive word of mouth (still the most powerful form of advertising), and bottom line results.
I was reading this short post about Apple, and found a passage that resonated with me and aligned well with my work past.
Focusing on the customer/consumer resolves all the horrid debates people from different departments have, especially when the people around the table have to meet their own individual KPIs, quarterly results, or agendas etc. If not properly managed, these debates often result in compromises in strategy and watered down solutions.
That says it all for me. When departments fight over territory and compromise so it’s a win-win for everyone, that often results in a vanilla solution. Which is totally awesome if your company makes vanilla! Not so good otherwise.
You can’t give away the farm, but taking really good care of your customers should trump the findings of a committee. If I go over and above for a customer and therefore blow a KPI because I spent too much time with said customer, I believe I’m measuring the wrong things. Data is great and more power to you if you want to measure everything, but I’m just not wired that way. Delighting one’s customers is still the most important strategy in my tool kit (yes, way more so than social media).