Tai Tran worked at Apple, on the social and content team, for two years.
One aspect of the company impressed him most.
“Whenever there’s a question about whether we should do something or not,” Tran told me, “we always come back to the question of, ‘How would this impact the customer experience?'”
The answer to that question determines how they should proceed. “If it’s going to improve the customer experience even marginally, the answer is yes, we should be doing that — even if it takes us hours or days or weeks,” Tran said.
Today, Tran, 24, is an entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of new dating app Blue. The app is geared toward Gen Z and millennial daters and is modeled partly after HQ Trivia, in that users answer questions in real time and get matched according to their responses.
Tran said he still focuses on the customer experience the same way he did at Apple.
“We [at Blue] always ask ourselves, ‘Are we doing this because we’re trying to make it easier in our own life or are we trying to improve the customer experience?'” he said. “If it’s going to improve the customer experience, I should be doing it — even if it’s something I know is going to take a long time and I have so many other priorities to do.”
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the company’s focus on customer experience.
Other startup founders emphasize the importance of knowing and catering to your customer
Tran’s observations recall those of Evgeny Milyutin, cofounder of Happy Numbers, an artificial intelligence-enabled math education platform. Milyutin previously told Business Insider about the importance of knowing your customer and understanding their needs before designing your product.
“Understand exactly what their day looks like and what keeps them up at night. A true understanding of all their pain points, even if they are not directly related to the problem your product is solving, will help you develop a solution that customers will trust,” Milyutin said.
As for Tran, he said working at Apple taught him that the customer experience should be an ongoing concern. “Your responsibility to the customer doesn’t end when they install an app, or when they buy your service or good,” Tran said. “How do you continue to help that customer and continue empowering them through the entire customer journey?”