A story about an interaction with Steve Jobs is making the rounds at the moment (posthumously).
It’s being fêted as hilarious, but I think it’s anything but.
Not because of Jobs and what he said. Far from it.
Indeed, I think he was one of too few leaders consistently forthright about their thinking around customer experience.
The quote attributed to Jobs (when an Intel exec told him they were going to make it easier for enterprise customers to integrate Apple computers) is:
“Why would I do anything to help the orifice that is the CIO? I’m going to make something so compelling for consumers that CIOs will just have to figure out how to deal with it.”
Putting Jobs’ posturing to one side, I believe it’s too easy for companies to effectively think – and act – in a similar way.
I don’t believe they do it deliberately like Jobs.
Rather they may do it unwittingly.
Customer-centric businesses must genuinely keep their customer – and what they are trying to achieve – at the very heart of their business model. If you don’t do this consistently, your “customer first” principles may quickly find themselves crowded out by inside-out thinking.
You can’t reasonably expect to be successful if you design friction into your customer experience.
Jobs was delighted to avoid enterprise integration and was satisfied with Apple’s forecast growth.
He was right – his premium offering appealed to individual influencers enough that many CIO’s took lots of pressure from them to enable Apple products.
Do you have that luxury?
"Purpose of business is to create & keep a customer." Not fatigue them with friction & make them work to do business with you.
— Conor M Ogle (@cmogle) April 9, 2014
The purpose of your business isn’t to sell products and services, it’s to create and maintain a customer.
Drucker’s principle is eternal and by authentically following it your proposition should be sustainable.
If your business strategy introduces any friction into engagements with your customers, it’s only a matter of time before the friction frustrates them and they seek an alternative.
This frustration may be instant. Whilst (ironically) further friction may exist which delays your customer from switching their business, without change the switch away from you is inevitable.
Take a look at your business from the perspective of your customer.
Look back at yourself and see if there is anything that frustrates or fatigues you.
If you find anything, you must fix it. Fast.
People only think the story about Steve Jobs is ‘hilarious’ because he won.
If you lose, it will be a tragedy and that’s no laughing matter.