Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Bill Gates

When is the last time you asked your customers “do you find it easy to do business with us?”  Have you ever “spent a day in the life of your customer?”  What really drives their buying behaviours and what is the total cost to them of buying from you?  What surprises would you find and how would you turn these into opportunities?

Really Talking to Our Customers Can Surprise Us

Total Cost of Doing Business With You. Do your customers really care about your latest discount initiative when what they really want is on–time delivery because the current, late deliveries are costing them more than the value of your discount?

Returns are the Voice of the Customer.  Is the level of returns too high? Is this because of poor quality? Or poor design that does not meet their needs?

Turn Complaints Into Compliments. Does your organization systematically capture customers’ complaints, analyze the root causes, resolve them and measure the outcomes?

Add Value or Perish What problem are you solving for your customers? What is the relative value of your solution compared to that of others within the value chain?

Returning Customers. Do you measure your customers’ churn and take actions to reduce it?  Are your staff remunerated to keep current customers?

Customers’ Touchpoints With Your Organisation. Is a single person accountable for resolving a customer issue? Or do your customers get bounced between the silos?

Since it costs five times more to obtain a new customer than to keep one, it makes sense to invest in and automate customer service through better processes.  Customers like certainty and ease of dealing with you.  Intimate knowledge of the customer is the beginning of all good process design.  Make it happen.


How often do you, as a senior executive, talk to your customers?  Call your 10 top customers now and set up a meeting with them.

Consider asking your customers to work within their organisation for a day and learn what it is like dealing with your organisation.

Do you measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis?  What do you do with the information?


  • Customer Centred Org??