Always focus on the customer

Centering your business around your customers isn't just smart - it's the secret weapon for achieving milestones and standing out as an industry leader

Always focus on the customer

Having launched and scaled several startups, I’ve noticed a recurring trend. Many founders often neglect to prioritise the customer amidst the excitement of product development and market expansion. However, success ultimately hinges on understanding and meeting customer needs. While founders obsess over perfecting products and identifying market opportunities, they may overlook understanding their customers’ behaviour and preferences. This oversight becomes clear in investment pitches, where discussions focus on market size rather than customer-centricity. I believe that customers and who they are, what they want and why, should come first and foremost. 

As companies scale, there’s a risk of losing sight of the customer-centric approach that fuelled growth in the first place. Instead of creating genuine connections, the focus shifts to chasing positive reviews. But truly putting the customer first goes beyond accolades.

In the whirlwind of entrepreneurship, it’s important to keep the focus on the customer. Their needs, preferences, and feedback should drive every decision, from product development to marketing strategies. By doing this, startups and scale-ups can attract loyal customers and drive sustainable growth.

Don’t forget who’s buying: Customer-centric thinking from day one

A common pitfall among budding entrepreneurs is getting so wrapped up in the excitement of their product or service that they lose sight of who will be using it. In the rush to launch, the customer often becomes an afterthought, overshadowed by grand visions of market dominance and revenue streams. But as any seasoned business owner will know, understanding your customer is the foundation of success.

Take Jeff Bezos and the launch of the Kindle. Rather than fixating on production costs or profit margins, Bezos focused on one crucial question: what price point would resonate with customers and drive mass adoption? He started with the price the customer would be willing to pay for the product, and ignored what it would cost to build. Many start with their cost price, add margin, and end up in a poor position competitively. By prioritising the needs and preferences of the customer, especially to do with price, he set the stage for Kindle’s meteoric rise and the evolution of digital reading that followed.

The power of negative feedback: Embracing critique as a catalyst for growth

Many entrepreneurs fixate on getting glowing reviews and five-star ratings, often ignoring negative feedback in the process. But, in my opinion, it’s the critical voices that hold the most valuable insights. By actively seeking out and addressing negative feedback, businesses can uncover hidden pain points, identify areas for improvement, and improve the customer experience. 

Rather than cherry-picking feedback from satisfied customers, I’ve always made sure to gather input from every customer possible, focusing on negative feedback. This approach allows for a full understanding of what needs fixing and drives continuous improvement. While positive reviews are important, addressing negative feedback is essential for winning over a wider customer base and making sure you’re successful in the long term. Most importantly, it flushes out problem areas to be addressed. 

Turning setbacks into success stories: The art of customer recovery

When it comes to eCommerce, a single negative review can send shockwaves through your reputation. Yet, instead of viewing these setbacks as stumbling blocks, smart entrepreneurs see them as springboards for growth.

A few years ago, I launched Finlux, an online TV brand, where customer service became our core competitive advantage. We focused on addressing dissatisfied customers’ concerns and went above and beyond to make things right. This approach strengthened our connections with customers and we transformed critics into brand advocates, setting a new standard for customer-centricity. 

Our dedication to customer satisfaction paid off, with a 99.8% positive review rating on platforms like eBay. Despite facing challenges, such as occasional delays or product issues, we made it a priority to resolve them quickly and learn from each experience. This commitment to excellence fuelled unprecedented growth, with millions in sales within our first few months, and a long list of happy customers. 

Putting the customer first pays dividends

Success in business boils down to one simple principle. Above anything else, you have to make the customer a priority. Whether you’re a promising startup or a seasoned industry giant, never lose sight of the individuals who make your business possible. 

Listen to their needs, value their feedback, and deliver exceptional experiences at every touchpoint. You’ll not only attract and retain loyal customers but also pave the way for sustained growth. So remember, the customer’s not necessarily always right, but they should always come first.

Andreas Adamides
Andreas Adamides

Share via
Copy link