Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The customer-driven market is the future of business. Those who thrive in it anticipate disruption, partner with key customers, relentlessly challenge the status quo, and drive, rather than adapt to, change.

Decisions related to these strategies rely upon urgent, unfiltered feedback from customers. How insulated are you from this direct feedback?

When a small business delivers a poor customer experience, the leaders quickly learn about it. Complaints rise and customers leave. Post-purchase reparations are expensive, and goal achievement is compromised. The threat to sustainability is palpable. Upon hearing the bad news, leaders in a small organization can promptly take corrective action.

But as a business grows, the structure it adds to increase efficiency and reduce risk inhibits its ability to react with urgency. Because the organization doesn’t reward ‘bad’ news, feedback regarding a negative customer experience is filtered before it reaches the leaders who can act to address it, leaders who are often consumed with other priorities. They aren’t exposed to the valuable feedback that frontline workers get, because they haven’t prioritized getting the user experience right. It seems more important to please their boss, attend meetings and keep the numbers on track than it does to fix what might not be broken. So, corrective action is slow in occurring.

Of course, businesses of every size live on the street, with their customers, and not in the buildings in which the leaders and their people work. Survival, and growth, rely on this truth, so sustaining awareness of the customer experience should be a very high priority.

Meet with key customers, probe how they plan to grow and what they need to achieve their goals, in addition to collecting feedback on their experience with your business.

Visit your own website to discover how easily and effectively it serves your customers.

Listen to customer or technical service calls, or better yet, answer a few calls yourself to learn how efficiently your reps are able to promptly assist customers and resolve challenging issues.

Then, in collaboration with your frontline people, determine a user experience metric that’s easy to measure and share…as easy as measuring last month’s revenue or profitability.

 How aware are you about your customers’ experience?