Measuring Customer Focus Is Not Living It

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Why customer focus is not a matter of the right metrics

They are both relatively young companies and they both depend entirely on the digital revolution for their products and their services. Still, one could be the grandfather of the other when it comes to innovation and its sibling – customer focus.

Microsoft is a first generation IT company. It is built on the opportunities provided by digital technology. Amazon.com is an internet company making the most of the opportunity to provide excellent customer service offered by the world wide web.

The difference in their thinking is evident when they address their approach to customers.

Bill Gates - who is still active as Chairman of the Board of Microsoft – talks about customer focus as a matter of focusing on the right metrics. He has phrased it like this:

”In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.”

To this day, Microsoft has been one of the most successful enterprises in the world and it will be highly profitable for decades to come, but it has struggled to reinvent itself while competitors like Apple, Amazon and Google have opened up new markets and introduced new business models.

At Amazon, it’s not about measuring customer focus in order to improve slightly. The company revolves around it.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon has stated that a company can either take inventory of what it’s good at and extend its services from that point. Or determine what the customers need and work backward even if it requires learning new skills.

Amazon has mastered innovation to the extent that it’s now known as the pre-eminent category killer in retail. Starting out as an online bookstore, it’s diversified into industries ranging from cloud computing to jewelry. It even produces consumer electronics and recently introduced the Fire Phone.

Most CEOs talk at length about putting the customer at the center of all that we do. Most don’t walk the talk. Measuring something is not living it.

Photo: Marcin Wichary/CC



Steen Reeslev is the managing partner of This Is Touch – a company providing television airtime for corporations in the growth markets of Latin-America, Asia, and Africa. Previously he was senior vice president responsible for Group Relations at A.P. Moller-Maersk. This Is Touch is based on experience from A.P. Moller-Maersk. The company produced a large number of films on all aspects of the business. The high quality of the films gave access to airtime on television in more than 30 markets.