Lip Service to the Voice of the Customer

Companies need to stay fit and healthy to improve their game. Brands need to “exercise” regularly (run a new ad campaign), “stretch” (to extend the brand franchise) and change their “routine” (introduce a new product.)

The best companies achieve results in these key areas by making a commitment to talking with their own people and listening to the Voice of the Customer.

Maybe not, you say. But if people in companies stop talking to each other, if they are not really listening to their customers and prospects, they start to fall behind, they fail more often. Almost all companies agree in principle. Many pay lip service to it. Few dedicate themselves to it.

Why is that? For some, it is because they use it the wrong way and get a bad taste in their mouth. Many don’t set measurable interim goals that lead to an increase in sales. While others chicken out entirely because it is not for the faint of heart.

Having the right mind set is the key. If you think of these opinions, viewpoints and criticism as the advice of a coach you will win.

Think about it, all of the best athletes in the world have coaches. Tiger Woods consults with his caddy? Michael Phelps trains with a swim coach? The New York Yankees are guided by a manager who used to be a player? Companies, like teams and athletes, can always do better. Break records.  Win more often.  How did you take it to the next level in your life? Have you ever had a tennis coach or hired a fitness trainer? Have you ever attended a cooking school? Tried to learn a foreign language? Taken a piano lesson?

Do you research a company before you buy a stock? Do you have a financial advisor to get the most out of your hard earned money? I’m sure the answer is yes. Then why would you speculate with your company’s money–and your career–without advice?

Do you know all you need to know from the people on your team? Do you think sales and marketing people agree on what your customers and prospects are thinking and feeling? Do they really?

Stop the guesswork. Stop the destructive thinking that investing in coaches is discretionary spending. It is not. That is like skipping check ups at the dentist and avoiding your annual physical. Companies need check ups and coaches just like championship teams and world class athletes.

Stop thinking “when things turn around, then we’ll spend the money” or “we’re doing great, there’s no need to listen”. If you’re trying to stay in first place or struggling to get back into the game, you have to be listening. So have that conversation with your people, customers and prospects and really listen to what they have to say.

Can you hear me now?!


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