If your company isn’t performing as well as it should, the answer may be closer than you realize. Your customers may be able to help you figure out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
Richard Whiteley’s excellent book, The Customer-Driven Company, explores companies that regularly pursue input from customers and build what they’ve learned back into their products and processes.
Some companies resist reaching out to customers out of a belief that the people who do business with you only see small pieces of your company. Whiteley says that shouldn’t be a roadblock: “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.”
Let me repeat one phrase: “Better than anyone else, though, they know what’s not happening for them that should be.” No matter what you think your business should do, you should be doing what your customers need. That’s why you should ask them. Frequently.