The only reason businesses exist is to be of value to its customers. The more value we can deliver, the more successful we will be.
How can we deliver MORE value to customers? Since most companies spend less than 1% of time and resources on that question, we can start by asking that question more often, like once a day.
Here are some of the areas that I've seen the most value added:
- Over-the-top customer service
- Removing things that customers don't care about - (i.e. old-school holiday cards, pet projects that customers haven't used)
- Eliminating positions that don't really pay for themselves that frees up resources to spend on things that really DO matter to customers (like great customer service)
- Adding those little features that customers keep asking for
- Eliminating confusion on our websites
- Eliminating confusion within our products and pricing
- Eliminating confusion in our pricing
- Picking up the phone and talking to real customers regularly
- Adding random acts of kindness to customer experiences
- Doing meaningful things to take better care of employees (which translates into them wanting to deliver more care/value to customers)
- Fixing customer issues really fast for them
Here's a list of things that suck our attention away from adding more value to our customers:
- Raising money, updating investors, and pouring over financial projections and spreadsheets
- Talking to potential suitors about selling all or part of our companies
- Woo'ing pedigree mid-level management (who mostly, in the end, don't add value)
- Figuring out which pens, hats, and t-shirts to put our logo on next
- Moving offices every year and putting too many time-wasting devices into our offices (big spaces, foosball & ping pong tables, cafe's, etc)
- Sending generic holiday cards, preprinted thank you cards, and anything else that smacks of generic "Thanks for being our customer" crap
- Continuing to employ people who don't go the extra mile for/exude enthusiasm for customers or co-workers
- Continuing to invent new roles for people who don't do well at their old roles.