What you need to know:
- Meetings involving board members and senior leadership are especially held with high esteem.
- Customers are not often invited to take a seat in every boardroom meeting when key decisions about them are being made.
Many business meetings are held in boardrooms and are considered of very highest order. Originally, the boardroom was set aside for such events.
Today, many other business meetings take place in this room. Meetings involving board members and senior leadership are especially held with high esteem.
It is no wonder that a lot of thought and effort goes into preparing for these meetings. Having been a board member and a member of senior leadership, I can attest to the preparations and they certainly go far beyond refreshments and assorted snacks.
In those closed-door meetings, major decisions are made. Some of them affect customers. Is the customer voice well represented in such boardroom meetings? Customers are not often invited to take a seat in every boardroom meeting when key decisions about them are being made. For a sales pitch, the client would be most welcome.
Customers are also invited for events such as product launches and education forums. Some smart companies go an extra mile; there is always an empty seat in the boardroom marked “customer”.
About a decade ago, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the concept of an empty chair in meetings to represent the customer. Over the years, Jeff has obsessed over customers and the experience they receive.
No wonder he refers to the empty chair as being occupied by the most important person in the room. When he established Amazon.com, he referred to the company as a customer experience company. To this day, Jeff considers customer experience as the only sustainable differentiator.
In most boardrooms meetings, financial reports take precedence over matters such as customer experience, feedback and retention. Nevertheless, the customer and the financials are closely related. If the customer feedback is negative, it will soon start showing in the financial reports.
Unfortunately, in many businesses, boardroom decisions are made in disregard to their effect on the customer, or the experience the customer receives. A decision such as an increase in price may be good for the company but is it communicated to the customers in a timely and effective manner?
Does increase in price reflect in an increase in value for the customer? Are there decisions that were recently made in your boardroom that have negatively influenced customer experience? How were these decisions communicated to the customers?
Today, we are living in the age of the customer. As such, the client should be at the centre of all key decisions made in a company by its leadership and by everyone else. The customers’ voice need to be heard loud and clear in the boardrooms.
Every smart company needs to rethink its focus on the customer while making decisions. Are your decisions made with the customer in mind? Do the board and the senior leadership put the customer at the centre of decisions they make?
Do everyday actions show that we consider the customer as an important player in our businesses’ success and survival? The customer needs to be well represented in every boardroom!
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