Learning from the masters of business and user experience

The web offers your potential clients a glut of options when it comes to selecting who to buy a product or service from. It seems that most businesses choose one of two roads:

  • Focusing Outside: Focusing on what their customer needs while striving for excellence. Looking at best practices and always seeing opportunities to learn.
  • Looking Inside: Deciding what the business wants, then looking for customers who will accept doing operating on their terms. They see little value in constant improvement and assume that they already know all they need to.

While the first perspective seems to be in the minority, there’s a growing renaissance of small (and large) businesses taking up the call to delight the customer.

While it may not be the easiest a client-focused perspective is good for the soul and makes for a more fulfilling workday. I firmly believe in creating relationships with clients who will come back again and again. The old-school mentality of “sell everyone once” makes me cringe.


It’s not about having good ideas. Half the business books seem to be written by a one-hit wonder or someone with a really great sounding idea. Forget those and focus on soaking your mind with the thoughts of those who do it:

37 Signals

Their blog, Signal vs Noise, offers a steady stream of solid advice and hard-earned experience from the software service industry. They are stubbornly particular about not pleasing everyone, yet carefully crafting every one of their products to delight those who fit their products.

Signal vs Noise Blog

Creative Good

Mark Hurst and his team have been evangelizing for putting customer experience first for more than a decade. Their time-tested insight cut against much of mainstream “wisdom” while having a surprising authenticity. They walk the talk.

I especially appreciate their newsletter which offers concrete examples and input on why experience is so critical.

Good Experience Blog


A deli turned customer care/service powerhouse. Their simple perspective and brilliant execution (always the hard part) gives them tremendous credibility when it comes to customer happiness. No environment is harder than a retail store (especially food-related, I’ve been there).

Having visited one of their stores during a customer care research field trip, I can definitely say that their system and methodology is impressive.

Customer care and training arm of Zingerman’s: ZingTrain

Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service

Published October 06, 2009

other posts »