If you’re not sure why your company isn’t performing as well as it should, the answer may be closer than you think. Your customers may have the insight you need to figure out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
Richard Whiteley’s excellent book, The Customer-Driven Company, cites many successful companies that aggressively pursue input from customers, and then build what they’ve learned back into their products and processes.
Some companies are hesitant to reach out to customers because they felt that group has only a limited understanding of what’s involved in serving them. Whiteley disagrees: “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 that? “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 do. What matters is whether you’re doing what your customers think you should be doing. That’s why you should ask them. Frequently.