You can't get too close to your customers - Mark MacLeod

January 28, 2021 - Mark MacLeod

You can’t get too close to your customers

My last operating gig was as CFO at FreshBooks. One of the keys to their success is their obsession with the customer.

When l was there (this may still be the case), every employee spent their first month in customer support. On the front lines: talking with actual, live customers. We had a dashboard in the support area of the office showing, among other things, how many times the phone would ring before it was answered.

Mike, founder and then CEO, would often drop in and do a stint on support.

I have seen a similar obsession with the customer from other highly successful companies.

If your company is into scaling, then for the most part, as CEO you should be working ON the business, not IN it. ie. reinforcing mission, vision is, values. Building, supporting and retaining your senior team. And never running out of money.

However, periodically dropping into the business gives many benefits. It gives you a direct, first hand perspective of the customer experience + reinforces the importance of this to your whole team.

Try and work this into your routine. Can you build in direct contact with customers to your schedule?

Questions to consider:

How do I rank our company in terms of its obsession with the customer?

When is the last time I interacted directly with a customer?

Does my leadership team have a sufficient focus on customer experience?

Do our company values reflect the importance of customer experience?

What steps can l and my leadership team take to get closer to our customers?

Image: Shopify President Harley Finkelstein chatting with customers

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