Steve Jobs on Customer Experience in 1997 (ahead of his time)

At the Worldwide Developers Conference WWDC in 1997, an angry audience member asked Steve Jobs about Apple canceling the OpenDoc project and encouraging developers to develop apps with Java instead.

As a car dealership, you don’t need to know what OpenDoc, Java, or WWDC are but the message that Jobs delivered is timeless and is something your dealership needs to keep in mind over a quarter century later.

“The hardest thing is: how does that fit in to a cohesive, larger vision, that’s going to allow you to sell 8 billion dollars, 10 billion dollars of product a year? And, one of the things I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards for the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. And I made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know that it’s the case.”

He knew that to be successful, you need to put the customer experience first and work backward toward the technology, product, or service.

The same goes for your dealership. You need to sit down and think about how you can deliver the absolute best experience for your customers.

Starting with “How are we going to sell more cars, or make more money” might work in the short term but changing the question to “How can we deliver the absolute best customer experience” will work for years to come.

You don’t know what your OEM is going to come up with next. You don’t know what is going to happen with inventory or incentives. You just get the new models in and then you have to start figuring out how you’re going to sell them.

On the other hand, you know your community and your customers. If you focus on them, you know what you are dealing with all along and the sales get easier.


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