Businesses and organizations often struggle to understand why they’re not performing as well as they’d like. In many cases, the answer is a lot closer than they realize. If they took time to talk with … and genuinely listen to … their customers, they would develop a much stronger understanding of what they’re doing right, and what needs to be improved.
In his landmark book The Customer-Driven Company, Richard Whiteley cites many successful companies that aggressively pursue input from customers, and then build what they’ve learned back into their products and processes.
I’ve dealt with companies who were hesitant to reach out to customers because they felt that group has only a limited understanding of what’s involved in serving them. Whiteley is quick to respond to that sentiment: “Acting on customer feedback isn’t always easy: Customers often don’t understand your business as well as employees or suppliers. Better than anyone else, though, they know what’s not happening for them that should be. That’s the place to start. They know what’s wrong but it’s your job to find the barrier to get rid of it.”
Did you catch the most important sentence in his comment? “Better than anyone else, though, they know what’s not happening for them that should be.” It doesn’t matter what you think your business should be doing. All that matters is whether you’re doing what your customers think you should be doing.