Lesson 11: Take Care of Your Customers


I recently wrote a book, 26 Lessons From Legendary Self-Made Billionaires. I’m sharing a few of the lessons here.

#011: Take care of your customers.

Legendary self-made billionaire Warren Buffett once told a group of students taking care of the customer is THE winning formula for business success.

He shared the story of Bill Child, CEO of Berkshire-owned RC Willey home furnishings in Utah. Bill built up the business from his father-in-law when it was only doing around $250k per year in sales. Now, its revenue is close to $400 million, and RC Willey has over half the market share for furnishings in Utah.

Warren says Bill was able to accomplish this by thinking about the customer. The truth is, Bill was competing against Sears stores and another huge furniture retailer, but all he thought about from the moment he got up in the morning was, “How do I take care of the customer?” And that, says Warren, wins!

It’s not just Warren Buffett. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos provides the same advice. In his 2016 Letter to Shareholders, Jeff says there are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are many more. But, Jeff says, to succeed, obsessive customer focus is by far the best.

Jeff says to succeed you must develop a true customer obsession. Business success requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect those saplings, and double down whenever you see customer delight.


Application:

Self-made billionaire Sam Walton once remarked the customer is boss. The customer can fire everyone in your organization; from the CEO on down, just by taking their business elsewhere. Heed the advice of John Paul DeJoria and make sure your product or service is of the highest quality you can possibly make it. Be in the reorder business. You’ll often find 80% of your business comes from about 20% of your customers. Make them happy.