Is this the most important question to live and operate from?

What is the most important question that one needs to grapple with when it comes to customers and the customer-centric orientation?  Is it:

  • how do we calculate customer lifetime value?
  • how do we get the right offer out to the right customer at the right time?
  • do we get just the basics right or do we deliver a wow experience?
  • should we be using social channels to message or provide customer service?
  • do we need a Chief Customer Officer to own the customer and advocate on his behalf?
  • how do reduce/manage the costs of customer service through channel shift?
  • how do we show an ROI from Customer Experience?
  • how do we make the omnichannel stuff work?
  • how do we get customers to stick around and do business with us longer?
  • should we focus on taking care of customers or our shareholders?

I say that it is none of these.  It occurs to me that the most important question is radically different. If you want to know what that question is then I urge you to watch the following video:

It occurs that if we all lived this question, then collectively we would build amazing relationships, amazing products, amazing organisations. And we would transform the quality of our lives and the world that we live in.

What is the question?  It is the question that is fundamental to generating relationships, loyalty, and joy in the world.  It is the question, if lived by us, generates a wonderful world for all of us.  It is first and foremost a social question.  What is that question?  It is so simple that it took a 12 year old to pose and live even in her dying days:

How can we help them?

– Jessie Joy Rees

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant. Passionate about enabling customer-centricity by calling forth the best from those that work in the organisation and the intelligent application of digital technologies. Subject matter expert with regards to customer strategy, customer insight, customer experience (CX), customer relationship management (CRM), and relationship marketing. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise (marketing, sales, service), and Technology.

10 thoughts on “Is this the most important question to live and operate from?”

  1. Interesting how, whenever I go to give a big speech, my husband always says, “Just try to help them. That’s all.” And that is what I do it is ALL I do all day, every day, no matter who I am interacting with. It’s a lovely, full way to live. I’m even learning how to help myself these days. Haha.

    Thanks for another great piece.


    Kristin Zhivago Revenue Coach 401-423-2400 Zhivago Management Partners, Inc. 381 Seaside Drive, Jamestown, RI 02835 Skype, Twitter: KristinZhivago Site: Blog: Book:


    1. Hello Kristin

      It occurs to me that your husband is a wise man. And I am delighted that you are learning to help yourself. Isn’t it amazing how long this can take? I have just gotten present to that which is true for me, naturally so, and which I have hidden for a long time. What is that? What can be that frightening? “I am love!”. I suspect that you too have been running from yourself. And it is great to know that you have arrived back home.

      Please know that I am huge fan of yours. Actually, more: I say I am your friend and delight is present in my house of being just knowing that I share this world with you. Please pass on my fondest regards to your husband and let him know what I said “He shows up for me as being a wise man.”

      With my love


      1. Thanks, Maz. I replied to your email version before seeing the video – I just watched the video. What an amazing and inspiring young girl. My wise husband (you are right) had a 5% chance of surviving his throat cancer 6 years ago, and we never, ever gave up. He’s alive now, healthier and happier than ever, and every day is a true blessing.

        So honored to know you and always uplifted by anything you write.

        K and her wise, alive hubby 🙂


  2. Hi Maz,
    A truly inspiring story and a hugely powerful question. Like James says many people are too quick to ask how they can help themselves rather than help others but miss the idea that in helping others we can help ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing,



    1. Hello Adrian
      I am delighted that you found this inspiring. Looks like you and I are inspired by the same kind of being/doing in the world.



  3. Maz,

    Thanks for this post. Very inspirational.

    As I scrolled down the post and saw Jessie’s video, I was so surprised that this wonderful (yet sad) story made its way across the pond. Jessie went to the same elementary school that my kids go to. And the NEGU message that her family continues to spread is just so amazing. Their love for their daughter, and their drive to help others in the same situation, is contagious. Great lesson to be learned here.

    Annette 🙂


    1. Hello Annette

      Thank you. And I hope that you, your kids, your family are well.

      Every time I watch the video I find myself deeply moved-touched-inspired. I ask myself why? And it hits me that fundamentally, I want to touch lives and contribute to enriching lives, generating joy in the world. And Jessie did just that. Whilst her life is short, what a life. Even in death she is source of contribution and impact in the world. I have never met her, yet I miss her! I have never met her, yet I find love in my heart for her.

      Now I ask you how many companies, if they went bust and closed, would be missed? How many people would shed a tear like I shed a tear for Jessie? How many show up as a source of inspiration, of joy, in the lives of their employees, their suppliers, their customers?

      So it occurs to me that the true meaning of customer-centricity is that your presence makes a contribution in the lives of your customers: it enriches the quality of their lives so that they are grateful that you exist. So grateful that they will work with you, fight on your behalf, to keep you in existence.

      What do you say?



  4. These are all very valid questions to ask. I think great customer service boils down to the way both Suppliers and Customers handle situations. I am registered on a website called which allows me to write reports about my Suppliers – whether good or bad – and they have a fair chance to respond.


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