Myth Busted: Steve Jobs Did Listen To Customers

Dec 20 2013, 1:23am CST | by

Myth Busted: Steve Jobs Did Listen To Customers
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

I’m tired of hearing people say, “Steve Jobs didn’t listen to customers.” It’s not true.

By the time Jobs returned to Apple in the 90s, his views had evolved. He’d been listening to customers for more than 20 years and, by that time, was deeply attuned to their needs.

He made the following statement in the 1997 Worldwide Developers Conference (see video above):

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technologyI’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room…As we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?’…I think that’s the right path to take.

No one is saying to form a communist-style committee to ask customers what features they want in a new product because, as Jobs said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

But show them and pay attention to what they say. Better yet, watch them as they use it, like he did when he visited the Apple Store in Palo Alto.

He believed that “really great products come from melding two points of view—the technology point of view and the customer point of view. You need both.”

This belief pervades the company’s retail operations, too. Apple uses Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. On a daily basis, customers are asked—across hundreds of stores—how likely they are to recommend Apple. Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey explain the process in 2011’s The Ultimate Question 2.0:

Comments from customers help [Apple] store managers prepare for service recovery calls with detractors to close the feedback loop. The outcomes of these calls, together with the customer comments, provide important coaching and feedback messages that are passed along to employees.

Every company should obsess about customer experience the way Apple does. Customer focus is the surest way to satisfy financial stakeholders in the long run.

“Maximizing shareholder value,” Jack Welch admitted, “is the dumbest idea in the world.”

I know what else is dumb: not listening to customers.

Follow me on Twitter

(Drew Hansen is responsible for Special Ops at Qualtrics, the world’s leading enterprise survey platform)
/>

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Syria ensures medicine supplies for chronic diseases
Damascus, Oct 31 (IANS) Despite the nearly four-year crisis and the suffocating economic sanctions against Syria, the health sector in war-torn country is still able to secure medicines for the chronic diseases free of charge, health officials said Thursday.
 
 
China's aid to fight Ebola arrives in Ghana
Accra, Oct 30 (IANS) Chinese medical supplies and equipment to aid Ghana's fight against the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Viral Disease arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra late Wednesday night.
 
 
EU lifts decade-long economic sanctions on Zimbabwe
Harare, Oct 30 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has lifted its decade-long economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in a move that will see the trading bloc extending 234 million Euros (about 300 million dollars) to support programmess in the country.
 
 
World Bank pledges more funds for Ebola flight in West Africa
Accra, Oct 30 (IANS) The World Bank announced Thursday an additional $100-million support package in its Ebola response activities for three West African countries ravaged by the epidemic.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

11 held for digging women's graves for 'ghost marriages'
Beijing, Oct 30 (IANS/EFE) Chinese police have arrested 11 people for allegedly digging up dead women's bodies from their graves to sell them for rituals known as "ghost marriages", Hong Kong's South China Morning Post...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Argentina's Congress passes energy-overhaul bill
Buenos Aires, Oct 30 (IANS/EFE) Argentina's lower house of Congress, controlled by President Cristina Fernandez's allies, gave final approval Thursday for a new Hydrocarbons Law that was harshly criticised by...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN chief seeks help against female genital mutilation
Nairobi, Oct 30 (IANS/EFE) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the media Thursday to speak out and help put an end "within this generation" to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a practice suffered by 130 million...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Over 9,000 kg marijuana seized in Tanzania
Arusha (Tanzania), Oct 30 (IANS) Tanzanian police Thursday said they have seized 9,102 kg of marijuana in an ongoing crackdown operation in northern part of the country. The seizure follows an operation carried out in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
China's aid to fight Ebola arrives in Ghana
Accra, Oct 30 (IANS) Chinese medical supplies and equipment to aid Ghana's fight against the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Viral Disease arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra late Wednesday night. The...
Read more on Business Balla
 
US 'deeply concerned' about Burkina Faso situation
Washington, Oct 30 (IANS) The US is "deeply concerned" about the deteriorating situation in Burkina Faso resulting from efforts to amend the constitution, the White House said Thursday. "We believe democratic...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israeli PM calls for halt to incitement
Jerusalem, Oct 30 (IANS) The world must end its silence and condemn "Palestinian incitement" that fuels violence in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, hours after a Palestinian gunman...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Mozambique's ruling party wins general elections
Maputo, Oct 30 (IANS) Mozambique's electoral authorities Thursday announced Filipe Nyusi, the candidate of the ruling Frelimo party, as elected the fourth president in general elections since the country gained...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
EU lifts decade-long economic sanctions on Zimbabwe
Harare, Oct 30 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has lifted its decade-long economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in a move that will see the trading bloc extending 234 million Euros (about 300 million dollars) to support...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Chris Hemsworth wants to raise kids in Australia
Chris Hemsworth wants to raise his children in Australia. The 'Avengers' actor is keen to return to his home country with wife Elsa Pataky and their kids India, two, and twins Tristan and Sasha, seven months, after...
Read more on Celebrity Balla