20 Years of Putting “Customer-First” Into Action

Laura Ortman

At Equinix, we’ve been dreaming about what digital business can be for 20 years, and our customers have been driving those ambitions since Day One.

The careful global expansion we’ve undertaken for two decades is about being where our customers are taking their businesses. The products and services we introduce, from the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™to Equinix SmartKey™, are a direct response to what customers tell us they need. And when we think about the future, we’re not aiming to just keep up with our customers’ ambitions, we want to stay several steps ahead.

We know that takes a lot more than words.

Words and deeds

“We put the customer at the center of everything we do.”

We say this often at Equinix, and we live by it, but that requires us to always be in tune with what our customers need and continuously take concrete steps to deliver it. Maybe the most important part of that is listening, and that’s what our “Voice of the Customer” initiative is about.

As part of the initiative, we met with customers around the world over the course of a year to hear what matters most to them, what we’re doing well, and ways we can improve. We used this feedback, along with material collected during customer workshops, to outline a seven-stage customer journey that moves through the initial customer need, to the buying experience, to the long-term strategic partnership we’re hoping to establish.

Understanding this journey helps us to determine how to better serve customers at each stage. In fact, we used this information to come up with 12 Customer Experience Initiatives (CXI) we’re activating to enhance the customer journey. Each CXI specifically addresses feedback customers gave us. For example, we’re improving quote delivery, completely redesigning our customer portal for easier use and enhancing the billing process. These are long-term and fundamental changes, and we are committed to keep listening so that we remain customer-centric, however that definition evolves.

A customer-first culture

One thing we’ve learned in 20 years of focusing on customer needs is that a healthy company culture is critical to meeting them. At Equinix, we emphasize that everyone plays a key role in the success of our customers, whether they are in a customer-facing job or not. In fact, when we mapped out the seven stages of the customer journey, we found more than 300 customer touch points, what we call “customer value moments,” when someone at Equinix has an opportunity to directly or indirectly impact the customer experience. That’s powerful.

With so many of our people having so many opportunities to contribute to the total customer experience, we want to eliminate any silos that spring up in different departments and regions and promote a unified approach to serving our customers. We’re sure to recognize excellent work with customers, including enabling our employees to nominate each other as a “customer champion.” And we work on helping our employees feel engaged and empowered at work, because the more they like being at Equinix, the more motivated they are to help the company by speaking up and working to improve our processes and products.

As we were formulating the seven stages of customer journey, it was striking how aligned our customers and employees were on ways we could improve – even though they shared their thoughts separately. A company with a healthy culture is a place where everyone can get into the customers’ shoes, know what the customer needs, and work together to deliver the best possible results.

Staying focused

Our legacy has been built on the practice of putting our customers first, and our future will be no different. We talk all the time about customer-inspired innovation as the engine behind what’s coming next from Equinix. And right now, we’re equipped with more knowledge than ever about how to help our customers succeed.

One big challenge will be to stay laser focused on our CXIs, no matter how quickly technology and markets change around us. But after 20 years, we know the value of discipline. Meeting our customers’ needs has motivated us every day since our founding in 1998, and today we know they need to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything to build their digital futures. As tomorrow approaches, they can forge ahead with the confidence of knowing we’re going to do everything we can to help make that happen.