A lot of people talk about customer engagement and how to attract and keep their customers, but in a lot of cases, this is presented as an afterthought to building a product. The reality is a lot more nuanced than that: The customer experience should be the focal point before you ship anything.

Solving a pain point for a potential customer is just a part of the bigger equation. Ensuring that customers can on-board and have an experience that leaves them wanting more is what transforms a successful idea into a successful company and brand. It forms a relationship that flows both ways; a happy customer that will promote your product, and a customer who can be counted on to try future products from your team.

Whether it's a start-up company, a Fortune 100 company or anything in between — the key to success is nearly identical despite very different environments.

Keep the customer in the front of your mind and focus on serving them.

The right decision will not always be obvious, and sometimes an external, fresh set of eyes is the missing piece to the puzzle when you find yourself at a fork in the road, but it will always be there.

It's important to remember that failure is always an option. It's not always about the destination because the journey is just as important.

If you've shipped something that solves a real pain point and has a growing customer base, congratulations, but the hard part is still to come. Maintaining the right culture while growing is one of the hardest parts of scaling because it involves humans.

Building and maintaining the right culture is more than just holding people accountable to objectives, it's about setting the expectation that anything that negatively impacts the customer's usage of your product (including bugs, quirks, or confusing behaviors) is always at the top of the priority list.

Having a customer-first approach empowers everyone on the team to make autonomous decisions that are inherently aligned because there is single focus and objective. Equally important, that autonomy will increase up morale, employee satisfaction, and the ability to leverage the collective brain-power of the team to continue driving customer value.

Whenever I get on my soapbox to talk about this, I always use the term Seductive Adoption to describe the behavior that I expect from my products and to set the same expectation with everyone on the team.

That same approach helps reduce or entirely eliminate the support burden because "it just works". The significant reduction in support also helps drive unified teams that own their products end-to-end without multiple support levels and escalation paths. The support simplification, in turn, drives shorter resolution times on issues which make for happier customers.

It creates a self-sustaining, positive circular pattern.