As a startup gets larger founders would do well to go back and take on roles like customer service or sales for a day. Of course they won’t be incognito, but it will still prove to be an eye opening experience. In addition, new hires for senior positions should start out rotating through or accompanying some of those roles as well. This will expose people with a fresh set of eyes to what is actually going on, which even in a startup can be quite different from what founders (and the board) have led themselves to believe.
Another great post Albert. I’ll go so far as to say that all hires in an organization - C-level, senior, developer, intern or otherwise - should start in customer service for a few weeks. Customer service condenses tons of man-hours of product use into a compact stream of common and uncommon use cases. Appreciating both the concerns of your customers and the ability of your customer service team to address those concerns has so many benefits. Only when founders remain engaged with the customer experience does the culture of customer focus permeate and resonate. This is good DNA. Any employee at a startup who believes they are above customer service does not belong at a startup. This is bad DNA. There are only a fixed number of seats in your startup’s lifeboat - if you ain’t paddling, fixing holes or bailing water, you’re dead weight shark bait.
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