A Seat at the Table

Who is truly at the center of your business? 

Jeff Bezos is so focused on being customer centric that he always includes a seat at every meeting that represents the customer. Sounds odd, but it is one of those emblematic ways that he demonstrates what he believes is Amazon’s most important difference from other retailers. 

I heard another story on a John Jantsch's podcast called Duck Tape Marketing that a guy had to return a package back to Amazon because he bought the wrong power cord and needed to replace it. Amazon sent him a return label and he took the package to the UPS store. As he left the store, his phone beeped and he noticed a text telling him that Amazon had just wired money into his account as a credit for one he purchased.
Amazon hadn't received the merchandise back yet but given that person's loyalty, they felt why not return his money instantly? 

Talk about over delivering on their promise.

Amazon's category teams leads have goals that are focused on customer satisfaction levels that exceed the category. Everything they do is to over deliver on their commitment that nothing is more important than the customer's satisfaction. 

Center of the Universe
How does your business make your customers the center of your universe? What actions are you taking as an organization to find a way to delight the people that you serve? Often it is something small that can be incredibly powerful. Your competitor may not even think about getting you a credit faster to please you but think of how that makes you feel?

A few suggestions on how to act more customer centric:

Little Things Matter:  How do you feel when you are given great customer service when you make a purchase either at a shop or online? Sometimes having a cashier look at you and smile and acknowledge you is all that it takes. If online, a simple little bounce back note that says your order has been received and I am grateful that you choose to shop with us from a real person can make a big difference. Showing up as a human being is a great place to start to be more customer focused. Empathy goes a long way in what is typically a cold business climate.

Voice of the Customer
Are you guilty of believing you understand a market so well, that you (and your colleagues) know exactly what they want? Unless you are the reincarnation of Steve Jobs, this is an ineffective approach

Now it is true that customers and consumer say and do different things, but understanding how they view the current choices they have in a category and to see the gaps and opportunities, is invaluable for both product development as well as the marketing of the product. Let your customer have an early and frequent say in what you are creating for them. Don't just show up with a product and hope they want what you believe they need. 

Surprise and Delight:  When was the last time you told someone about an experience that you had with a product or a brand? What was it you were sharing and why? How did you share it with your friend? When you catch yourself surprised and delighted, you might begin to see how your customers could feel that way if you did something equally unexpected. I recently picked up a sandwich through a drive through as I was rushed for time. The woman handing me the sandwich said, we put our special dressing on the sandwich but I want to make sure you are happy, would you like a little extra container of the sauce?  I was surprised and noticed that little gesture of kindness.

Spend Time With One Customer:  The more time people throughout an organization can spend with customers, the more they understand how their work affects the customer’s experience with your business. Suddenly a woman from finance or a man in human resources realizes something about the influence his own work has on your customer named William.  It makes it real and tangible. It humanizes the impact of your daily work.  Suddenly the connection of your input is seen in the delight it brings to a real person not this amorphous thing called the customer.

If the center of your world is all about you and your company, your destiny is limited.

Apple doesn’t tell me about the components in their computers, they show how a customer feels using their product. Patagonia urges consumers not to buy more clothes than they need because they share your values and want to live consistent with that approach. Whole Foods wants to reflect a community of shared values with the customer vision for a better world at the center of their messaging; thus value matter.

When your customer is at the center of your circle and you give them tools to be happy or successful or to feel good, life is good and your business will flourish like flora in the amazon. 

Jeffrey Slater


This is my 400th blog post for MomentSlater. I'm feeling proud and honored that so many marketers are reading my posts. Thanks for spending a little time with my ideas.


Struggling with a how to find a seat at the table for your customer? Give me a call at Clarity at let's discuss how I can help set the table for you. 

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