Why customer focus is killing your business

Apr 27, 2010

Choose one of these to wake up to tomorrow morning: [1] The greatest customer base in the world, and employees who suck; or

[2] The greatest employee group in the world and a bunch of ho-hum customers.

I know which I would prefer. I know which one will deliver a sustainable, profitable, growing business in the long term.

Customers will disappear like dew in the morning if your employees suck (even if they’re merely average, in a competitive industry), and they won’t come back again for a very long time, if at all – and certainly not until you entirely retool your employee base.

Great employees, on the other hand, will always attract great customers, new customers – new markets, even.

The wellspring of your business is not your customers, it’s your employees.

For example…

Look at Goldman Sachs – there is no doubt whatsoever that they had/have a relentless, even ruthless focus on their customers. But many of their employees, frankly, suck – and at the highest levels. You can see the results playing out on a daily basis.

More customer focus will not fix this. Uuntil Goldman entirely retools its hiring, deployment, training, mentoring and performance assessment processes (Chapter 10 of ‘Predictable Success’, anyone…?), it’ll continue to stick in Treadmill, if not decline into The Big Rut.