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).
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 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 first chair and let them help “tune” your direction.