SAAS | 8 MIN READ
Customer-first companies are employee-first companies
Back when Linda Boff ran Global Digital Marketing at GE, she spent three weeks visiting companies around the world to try and learn what makes a customer-first organization tick. What she found surprised her. “By and large, the companies that consistently delivered great customer experiences were actually putting their employees first, and, in doing so, they empowered their employees to act in the best interests of customers.”
The best-in-class organizations she spoke to gave employees the resources and freedom to make in-the-moment judgments about what each customer needed, rather than just issuing a universal set of procedures and policies. “We visited leaders in hospitality. One of them, a veteran of the industry, gave employees allowances of $2,000 to delight customers at will. The other, an up-and-comer trying to transform the hospitality space, set up employees to see customer feedback in real time.” Even with wildly different brands and target customers, both saw employee autonomy as an important ingredient for serving customer needs at scale.
Inspired by what she observed, Linda brought the case studies back to GE where she sparked a larger conversation about developing talent who could grow and evolve the brand through the digital age. Now, as CMO and Chief Learning Officer of GE, Linda has fostered her own spin on the “employee-first is customer-first” thesis by helping her teams develop a deep appreciation of and comfort with data. Here are her three key lessons.
The companies that delivered great customer experiences also put their employees first.