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Finding Success by Being Customer-Obsessed with Alex Yakubovich and Stan Garber, Ep #425

Nn 425

What have Alex Yakubovich and Stan Garber learned from founding and successfully exiting their own companies? Being customer-obsessed is the key to success. It’s the mindset they’re embracing in their newest venture, Levelpath. Alex and Stan share how being customer-obsessed has shaped their past successes and their current project in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:35] Learn more about Alex Yakubovich and Stan Garber
  • [4:10] Why being customer-obsessed works for them
  • [7:02] Don’t fake caring about your customers
  • [12:22] Learn more about their latest venture: Levelpath
  • [21:49] Their vision for the future of Levelpath
  • [25:12] What should the future of procurement look like?

Why being customer-obsessed works

Alex and Stan’s #1 value is to obsess over the customer. Their first company, ONOSYS, handled creating online ordering for large enterprises. Scout RFP—which was a cloud-based platform for strategic sourcing and supplier engagement—had a maniacal focus on the customer.

The bottom line is that they’re customer-oriented founders. They listen to their customers and look at the entire experience, from engagement to implementation. They partner with their customers to make their products better.

They spend time establishing relationships and fulfilling their promises. At the end of the day, if something is wrong, they have their customer’s best interest in mind.

Don’t fake caring about your customers

Caring for your customers is either part of the fabric of your company or it isn’t. You can’t fake it. You have to reinforce it every single day. They remind their employees of their values every single week. They earn the trust of others, internally and externally.

Amazon obsesses over things that are great for their customers. They may take a short-term hit for long-term customer retention. As soon as you return an item, you get your refund. Most retailers process your return, which could be up to a month before you get your money back. Those details matter.

Alex and Stan give out their personal phone numbers to every customer they’ve ever worked with. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CFO, CEO, or category manager; you get access to them. If you have a question at 10:30 at night, they’re answering it. They’ve built trust.

They’re genuinely helping people every single day. When they negotiate, they work to build trust upfront. Their counterparts know they have their backs. They know Stan and Alex won’t screw them.

What Alex wants people to focus on in the process

Alex and Stan took a self-driving car to work. It was a delightful experience. It was science-fiction a few years ago, and now it’s reality. It left Alex questioning the future of transportation as a whole.

Everyone needs to spend time thinking about the future of technology. What should the future of the procurement industry look like? What can you do today to move toward that future? What does “delightful” mean, and how can you move toward it?

Stan emphasizes that you need to remember you’re in the service industry. You know when you’re having a great experience. How can you keep that in mind when you’re working with stakeholders and vendors? Are you creating an experience that will leave people delighted?

Alex and Stan share more about the importance of being customer-obsessed—and share how they’re implementing that mindset in their new venture—in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Alex Yakubovich and Stan Garber

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