Are Your Customers Helping Set Your Direction?

Chairs are a big deal.  The big boss sits in the chair at the head of the board table.  The best player in each section of an orchestra is called “first chair” and the first chair of the first violin section is the “concertmaster.”  We call the leader of a committee the “chair.”  Many renowned professors get an endowed chair at a university.  One of our most frequent expressions for joining a group is, “grab a chair.”  We use the size and decoration of chairs to signal power (the King’s chair), privilege (sit in the chair to the right of the leader) and prestige (box seats).

Today’s customers expect to be treated as very valuable assets throughout their entire journey with your organization.  Even a hint that you don’t appreciate the value they bring sends them off to another provider.  Today’s wired and dangerous customer is fickle and will change providers faster than ever before.  Are you demonstrating your gratitude to your customers throughout their journey with your organization or as our good friend Jim Blasingame often asks “are you loving up your customers”?

What chair is reserved for your customers?  Are they given court side, 50 yard line seats or relegated to the cheap seats in the nose bleed section of our attention and focus?  Do they have a chair at the table when products, processes and service are designed, altered and enhanced?  Is their voice muffled through a distant survey or vibrant through a direct presence in the organization?  Are they relegated to a passenger seat or allowed to join us in the cockpit to help manage the flight to collective success—theirs and ours?  Like an orchestra conductor, put your customer in the concertmaster’s first chair and let them help “tune” your direction.

Best wishes for a fantastic 2021!

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© Chip Bell Group, 2021.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.

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