pro pro-activity

You can spend years learning about customer- or talent-centricity, devouring books, courses, and keynotes in the process. In the end, it all boils down to this. Be a pro about pro-activity.

In marketing, anticipating your (potential) customers’ needs and desires is considered standard practice.

In HR, anticipating your customers’ — the people who work with you — needs and desires, is a rather novel idea.

Anticipate your customers’ expectations as well as you can, and cater to them, preferably before they manifest themselves.

company as a byproduct

Successful companies are the result of amazing customer care.

Take Coolblue, for instance. They came up, very successfully, against all odds. In an era where the electronics retailer market was already very saturated.

You know how the edge of your lips curls up when you bring about a satisfied smile? That’s what they obsess over. Their motto; everything for a smile.

Companies are a byproduct of startups obsessing over customer satisfaction.

featured solution

What does adding a new feature solve? Products, digital and analog add features all the time. Driven by a vision, but even more so, driven by customer feedback and market demand.

With every new bell and whistle added, ask the same question repeatedly. What problem is this solving?

All (new) features should cluster around solving the same solution to the problem your customer is experiencing. If they don’t, reconsider.

paranoid absence

Businesses host (internal- meetings with different people from different departments discussing their products and services. Nothing extraordinary here. During those meetings, they might discuss a variety of topics. For now, let’s stay within the realm of the products and services the business externalizes.

When products and services are offered for sale, there has to be a customer on the receiving end. How many times is there a customer in the meeting room, though? If it isn’t a focus group, but a good old regular meeting, there is almost never a customer among the attendees.

Obviously, having a firm empathic understanding of the customer is the job of some of the people within the company, especially the people in marketing and sales. However, without the voice of the customer in the room, the risk of concluding with critical assumptions is substantial.

Keep your customers close.

more human

Supermarkets, restaurants, and many other types of businesses invest in employing fewer people in an attempt to optimize their business.

Supermarkets have quick scan checkout systems. Restaurants have QR menus enabling customers to order straight from their mobile. Reducing the waiters to transporting food between the kitchen and the table.

While it makes much sense from the business point of view to optimize, unfortunately, today’s approach is often to replace (costly) humans. Or increase capacity through technology. Resulting in a generic, less personal approach. The days of pleasant chitchat with the friendly cashier who asks about the family are long gone. Obviously, in a large urban context, it’s nearly impossible to maintain. But this isn’t an all-or-nothing issue.

The goal of implementing technology shouldn’t be to replace humans altogether. It should be to clear time so humans can create genuine added value through a customer-centric approach.


Assuming all businesses worldwide have at least one thing in common, being; create added value. Does that then imply that even fundamentally different businesses can share some universal learnings amongst themselves?

Yes, but depending on how different the businesses are, the learnings may be very limited in number.

One universal principle that never goes out of fashion, though, is customer-centricity. Buzzword bingo aside, putting your customer first, anticipating their needs as much as possible, and providing stellar service is always beneficial for every type of business.