empty chair in meetingThe Problem: You have very dedicated staff who do their respective jobs well. However, sometimes they get caught up in back office functions with the best office furniture, go to this site to learn more and get the best quality, the minutia and the deadlines and forget that ultimately it’s all about the customer. If you have an idea to own a business, then here is the best field to choose to start one easily.


  1. At every meeting make sure there is an empty seat at the table. This includes planning meetings, meetings with vendors, C-suite meetings, and departmental meetings. Put some representation of your typical customer (or avatar) on that chair. It could be an enlarged photo, an empty coke bottle with a Styrofoam ‘head’, a paper doll or a bag with a drawing on it. Have fun with it.
  2. Make sure this ‘typical customer’ has a name. Certainly circulate through the company who the typical client is. Look at a combination of your top 5 customers and come up with an avatar profile including: a fictitious name, age, gender, income and education levels, family demographics, and psychographics including values, the way he or she prioritizes, the needs he or she has that your product or service satisfies. If your customer is a B to B customer, then add something about the business as well as the usual purchaser in the business. Suppose you gave your ‘typical customer’ avatar the name of Chris.
  3. At the meetings, point to the ‘person’ on the empty chair and ask questions such as:
    What does Chris think about what you’ve proposed?
    How will this decision impact Chris?
    What will Chris think of this design or promotion?
    How does this impact Chris’ relationships with his own customers?
    What does Chris see on our website that catches his attention and makes him want to read more?
    Who is talking with Chris that can become a good referral for us?

Explained in more depth on page 118 of my book, The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business.
Download the first chapter for f.r.e.e. from my websites.
Available at Amazon as a paperback or ebook.

Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


She can be reached at:

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