Last month in Florida, I was absorbing some great discussions with our Executive Client Council (ECC), a group of C-level executives from the nation’s leading health systems. I was closely following a dialog rich in insight when I was struck by two simultaneous thoughts: (1) we should do this more often, and (2) why don’t more marketers do this more often?
“Listen to your customers” is unquestionable for any marketer. Most make at least some attempt to do it. Some do it well, and others not so well.
So that leaves my second thought: Why don’t more marketers do this more often? If you ask the question, the common reply will be “we can’t find the time”. If you push beyond the surface answer, you would also find an unease about what you will hear and an uncertainty if you want to hear it.
If it’s about time, think of the time and resources spent developing products and services that weren’t quite right or were just plain wrong. Then think about the time and money spent digging out of the resulting hole. Can you afford not to take the time? If it’s about being afraid of what you’ll hear because it might disrupt some major product development, then be prepared for the results you get in return — knowing that what you don’t know can hurt you.
We meet with our ECC regularly and it’s fantastic every time. We’ve learned a lot from this group of executives, and adjusted direction on product and technology development based on their coaching. We are committed to making this a more frequent dialog. Our intensive focus on clinical virtual assistant development is one direct outcome from listening to our customers.
Successful businesses are designed around what customers need. So, at the end of the day go beyond just thinking that you’re listening to your customers no matter how well you think you’re doing it. Instead, honestly ask why you aren’t spending more time with them.