Wednesday, March 23, 2005

true customer centricity

I have had the pleasure of working for a handful of companies over the course of my career, all of which at some level claimed to be "connected" to their customer. What I also know is that unfortunately the louder a company shouts about being customer centric, usually the less they really are.

Customer centricity is not the VP or CEO visiting a customer's management team or taking them out to lunch on occasion - although that can be part of it. I also think that true customer centricity is REALLY, REALLY hard to implement from the top down. It can and has been done, but it can oftentimes feel very superficial and "fake" from the customer's perspective.

Jobster has this one right so far. We continue to learn how to do this better. Here are some reasons why I think we are on track:
  • Our roots. The Jobster story started with recruiters and leaders in the recruiting industry. While in the concept stage, our CEO Jason Goldberg spent a lot of time understanding the gaps that existed in the industry from people that were living it. As we grew and began to define a sourcing solution, we spent months upon months sitting with recruiters at their desks and living their day with them. My job was to work with recruiters every day as we defined and refined our ideas.
  • Our service. Still working with customers today, I often say that Jobster was built for recruiters, by recruiters- and I believe that firmly. If we ever showed a prototype to a recruiter or recruiter manager and saw blank stares, we took it to heart and went back to the drawing board. When you look at recruiters in the industry that are great networkers, the Jobster service was architected to help ALL recruiters reach that level.
  • Our track record. Since late Sept 2004, some version of Jobster has been in use by customers and partners. In that time, feedback has poured into our team about how to make the service better. As the person who passed that feedback to the product team, I can say that all of the most important feedback will be introduced in version 1. We don't say we listen to customers, WE JUST DO IT.
  • Our people. We have had the luxury of hiring the best and the brightest in the Seattle area. Part of it was based on our buzz. Part of it was based on our customer traction. A lot was based on the story. The bottom line is that we have hired and continue to hire people that are passionate about doing the right thing and making sure we delight customers with our service. Everyone here takes it personally when a bug is found. This team cares- top to bottom.