Follow the North Star: Why customer-first companies will win



As budgets tighten and customer expectations for a consistently positive product experience continue to rise, companies are facing pressure to align internal teams and processes around a common goal. And with the increasing digitization of everyday life, employees are engaging with customers more than ever, from sales and marketing teams to product, design, development, and beyond.

Today’s workforce is fueled by transparency. Any and every department is able to access and promote their product message directly to customers. And yet true collaboration across teams remains a significant challenge for many organizations. Deep-seated silos and company in-fighting will ultimately hurt the user, as well as your bottom line.

Decisions need to be driven by what your buyer wants; not what one internal department deems right and necessary. But how do companies make that shift? This guide, co-created by Pendo and InVision, will outline the steps that companies need to take in order to focus every employee on the same north star–the customer.

“COVID-19 has changed our beliefs. Its deep impacts on all parts of society have shaken us out of old mentalities. As we spend more of our time and money online, what we do and say online has more importance. Brands are seen as having a responsibility to represent their customers. How they show up on social media, in their product design, and to their internal employees matters.”


A culture of collaboration

– Peter Drucker

Culture enables strategy, brings it to life, and determines its success. And a culture of collaboration across teams, departments, and executive decision-makers that is oriented around the customer will determine which companies remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

Netflix understood the business value of culture from its founding. All prospective employees are required to read a robust culture statement before interviewing. Sheryl Sandberg has called it “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.” Why? Because a cultivated company culture attracts and retains top talent. And when it’s focused on inclusivity, diversity, and bringing people together, it enables an environment of enhanced processes, experiences, and a shared understanding of the customer that ensures all employees put them first.

Understand your purpose

To put the wheels in motion and align your company compass on your customer, it’s important to have a well-planned onboarding process in place for every new hire–regardless of their team and function. At both InVision and Pendo, for instance, all new employees go through a week-long orientation to get acquainted with their company’s values, to learn more about their products and history, and to ultimately gain a complete understanding of the customer.

While these onboarding practices ensure new employees have a shared view of the user from day one, it’s critical to reinforce that perspective through daily decision-making. This is where cross-functional collaboration plays an important role.

When designing new features or solving product issues, the folks at InVision always start by bringing together teams across design, product, and engineering, along with sales, IT, support, finance, and beyond. And there’s a crucial reason why:

“Our customer solution is only going to be effective if we have a full understanding of the problem–and if we have the support of all teams in the implementation,” says Senior Product Manager Jessica Dubin.

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