Why does your company exist?


If you don’t know who you are and why you exist as a company it can be difficult to consistently deliver a great customer experience.

Does your company exist only to build apartments, lease them, and deliver the best possible service to the customer? If so, you might be heading in the <em>gnorw</em> direction.

Have you ever wondered what your customers really need and want? Is it an apartment? Not necessarily. Maybe they want to live near the beach, need to enroll their children in a great school district, want to be close to work, want to live a few feet from the pool, need to get out of mom and dad’s house, want to make friends, or even watch someone else cut the lawn.

Do you get my drift?

It’s the Drill and Hole Philosophy. A customer doesn’t buy a ¼ inch drill because they need a ¼ inch drill. What they really need is a ¼ inch hole. When you understand what your customers’ need and want, your purpose should become very clear.


Inside Out Mission

Successful companies like Starbucks and Walt Disney have laid out their reason for doing business—for existing—in a clear and simple mission statement. More often than not, mission statements tend to be an ornament in an office rather than a guide to doing business.

This couldn’t be further from the truth for Starbucks and Walt Disney. Instead of setting out to create the best cup of coffee in the world or the best amusement park in the world, Starbucks and Walt Disney looked inside the customer’s “problem zone” and built their entire business around giving customers what they need and want. These two companies know why they exist—to fill the hole—and so do their employees.…170,000 employees on a mission to Inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Walt Disney…156,000 employees on a mission to Make People Happy

What? No mention of great coffee or Mickey Mouse?

These two companies know why they exist—to fill the hole—and so do their employees. It comes down to their core DNA. They are mission-driven organizations that just happen to deliver remarkable service along with a remarkable product. Starbucks and Walt Disney offer more than a good cup of coffee and Mickey Mouse—they offer an experience that keeps customers coming back for more. Their customers are fiercely loyal!

Listen to the Voice

When you deliver on a mission you’ll know it and when you don’t you’ll know it too. Today’s customer tells us that we have no choice but to listen to their voice, not talk about what we “think” they need. It’s not difficult to hear their voice because social media has amplified it.

One way companies tune into the voice is by implementing Voice of Customer (VOC) programs to positively impact the customer experience. They do this by collecting feedback in a variety of ways to help make improvements across their organization. Innovation is a result of listening and responding to customer’s needs, wants and desires.

Starbucks has a reputation for listening carefully to their customers. A year ago a customer requested the ability to purchase replacement lids for their cups.  Here is what transpired via www.mystarbucksidea.com, a channel that allows customers to share, vote, discuss and see new ideas come to life.

New Replacement Lid at the Online Starbucks Store by Request
October 3, 2011

As it turns out, Starbucks listens carefully to their customers. Customers have requested another new replacement part, which is now available at StarbucksStore.com.

This new Top Hat Lid is easy to twist and seal to prevent coffee from spilling. The lid will fit both new and old models of the Double Wall Ceramic Tumbler, as well as the Jonathan Adler Red Ceramic Tumbler from last Christmas. The lid will also fit the VIA tumbler with sleeve. If you’re interested in purchasing, you can do so here on StarbucksStore.com for only $3.95.

This idea came from a My Starbucks Idea user who thought it would be beneficial to sell replacement lids for all old and new tumblers through the Starbucks website. This is a way for Starbucks to be more socially responsible and to also enable customers to continue to reuse their favorite tumblers with replacements for lids that could have cracked or broken over time. Just another way to keep these tumblers out of the landfills and full of delicious Starbucks coffee…

Another user asked for replacement lids online because their custom lids often broke or were lost. And as soon as that happened, the tumbler was completely unusable. Now you can find a solution to your lid problems at the Starbucks store online!

Listening to the customer’s voice can sometimes be a painful experience. It is often unfiltered and raw; however, if you can take the pain and put aside your personal feelings the payoff is very high. Top-performing companies create processes that seek direct, immediate customer feedback—not simply to ensure that things are going well but also to build in methods of systematic innovation and improvement. No one wants to remain static.

Tell us how you listen to the voice of your customer to continually work to improve the customer experience.