It shouldn’t be a special occasion for you to talk to your customers. They are your lifeblood, so get close to them and understand what’s happening on the front lines of your business. Making a habit of talking to customers provides unequaled and necessary feedback. You’ll follow trends in your industry, understand your customers’ problems intimately, and be able to identify your weaknesses early. Blockbuster is one of the best examples of what happens when you bury your head in the sand and ignore customers. It took the competitors nearly a decade to erode Blockbuster’s market share, so there was plenty of time to react. Yet the executive team didn’t take the competitive threats seriously. Had management listened to customers, it’s highly unlikely they would have missed the transition to the internet and streaming.
You must always improve your offering to stay competitive. Customer appetite shifts like the wind. By keeping zero degrees of separation with customers, you’ll be able to predict changes in demand and get ahead of the curve.
An average customer interview takes less than 10 minutes, so set aside some time every week to meet with customers. One meeting a week is often enough. Alternate between current and past customers to gain a solid understanding of why people prefer you or your competition.