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See the World Through the Eyes of Your Customers

Friday, 30th January 2015

American Mark Cuban, a self made billionaire, owns among other assets the Dallas Mavericks, the 2011 NBA Champion Team.  He bought the franchise in 2000 from Ross Perot for $285 million.  According to Forbes, it’s now worth $438 million. Here’s what he did to add a cool $153 million to his net worth which now stands at about $2.5 billion and some thoughts on what you might do for your business. Immediately after acquiring the franchise, Cuban set about working on the “experience” the team’s supporters had when attending games.

His goal was to understand what experience the “average” fan had when attending the game so that he could identify what needed to be improved to enhance the value they got for their ticket price. Cuban’s business philosophy is simply to create the best possible experience for his customers in all of his businesses.

Success Magazine described how Cuban created an additional $153 million in value:

‘… rather than hanging out in the owners box, he tried to catch games in a variety of locations within the arena. He sat in the nosebleed seats to get a feel for what the view was like, if there were any obstructions, if the scoreboard was visible. He sat courtside to see if the seats were comfortable, the leg room sufficient, the noise level good. And he sat just about everywhere in between, counting how many times vendors passed by and how convenient the various amenities were. He also queued for concessions, timing each wait and evaluating the quality of each product when he received it. He used the public toilets to make sure they were kept clean and were sufficient to meet demand.

He then acted on what he found. For example, new scoreboards were installed so that the view was not blocked from any seat in the stadium and new practices were put in place to improve the efficiency of concessions.  Getting into the detail and seeing the world through the eyes of customers is his mantra.  He makes the point that “… if you aren’t a customer of your own business, you are fooling yourself if you think you fully understand the customer’s needs.”

This article reminds me of the critical importance of regularly conducting Customer Surveys for your business.  This is a fantastic way to gather invaluable information and ideas that can dramatically change the fortunes of a business.  Customers generally don’t complain about little sources of annoyance, they just don’t feel much loyalty.

Loyalty is reflected by an improvement in the frequency with which customers deal with you, in the customer defection rate, in your customer acquisition rate and most importantly, your customer referral rate where excellent word of mouth testimonials about your services or products creates the best ‘advocates’ for your business.