The key to a successful business is making sure that you treat your customers the way they deserve to be treated. That's the basic principle of maintaining healthy relationships, keeping revenue coming in, and engaging with people long term. It's the basic principle of managing clients and customers. You'll find that investing in that will always have positive returns, whereas treating your clients badly will always come back to haunt you.
Think about the brands you love to hate — without exception, they are organisations which have decided it’s just too hard to keep delivering positive brand experiences in every setting, for every customer, every time. They've made their bottom line a priority over serving you, and you can always tell. It's obvious, when your concerns aren't addressed and they don't go out of their way to help you out.
That’s what a bad company is all about. They don’t want to deliver an incredible experience for their customers. These companies do not focus on making people happy. Generally speaking, they focus on getting us to sign on the line which is dotted.
They’d probably call this focusing on the bottom line. I call it making excuses for mistreating the people who pay them money. It’s not hard to find ways to care for your customers. And the simplest way to do it is to make your product work in the way your customers want it to.
If you’re a startup, that means thinking about what you do in the right way. Thinking about how the things that you build are going to show an investment in the people who buy them. If you’re not showing that you care, well, you can call it an MVP all you want — we can tell you don’t / won’t / shan’t / can’t care less, and you won’t be building a positive relationship with us.
If you're a service business, it means thinking about how you can go beyond the confines of your agreements and letters and make sure that you hone in on the concerns that are really driving your clients. You can't just tick boxes and say things are finished, you have to do your utmost to go above and beyond. It's the only way to really show that you're interested in your clients as more than dollar signs.
But there’s another thing to learn here. If you want to take on the big guns, if you want to challenge the giants in your industry, it’s not always about new features or faster horses.
Sometimes, it’s about looking for the tiny details that make the giants’ customers mad. The things that are fracturing their relationship. And it’s about asking how your startup can offer an alternative that will provide a positive experience.
In general, a business should always be about more than just the bottom line. It should also be about the people it helps and the value it adds to their lives. If you're a business who keeps that in the forefront, you'll achieve a lot more than your competitors who do not.