We all know that the customer is the most important person in our business, but the words ring hollow because we don’t know what we mean when we say this.

Really, what do we mean?

Sure, it is the customer that pays us, so that makes them important. It is the customer that buys from us in the first place. That makes them important. Without a customer you have no business. Customer loyalty is a wonderful thing. Angry customers a terrible thing.

And so the customer is king.

But none of this is really helpful. It doesn’t change the way we do business. It merely directs existing efforts somewhere – in the direction of the all-powerful customer. The customer is more a target of our efforts, than a source of inspiration.

A true customer focus changes a company. It forces us to put our own products, prices, promotions and whatever else we want to throw at them aside, and ask another question altogether: what do they want?

So what do they want? Do you know?

Most businesses don’t know, because they are too focused on forcing their own (insider) mindset onto the customer (the outsider). It is thus an “inside-out approach” instead of bringing the customer mindset into their businesses (an outside-in approach).

Making your customer the most important focus of your business should completely flip your company upside down. It’s uncomfortable.

  • It means talking to your customers. A lot.
  • It means listening to your customers. All the time.
  • It means asking your customers whom they regard as your competition; how they use your product; how they rate your service.

Such a true customer focused mindset is not natural, even though it comes all too natural to say that the customer is king. A true customer mindset is deeply unsettling. It tells you stuff that you don’t want to hear!

Why are you not selling? Why are you not profitable? Why is your marketing a flop and your business stagnating? Could it be that you are not treating the most important person, as the most important?

Could it be that you have forgotten why the customer is king?