Front line staff know what customers want. If your front line staff are turning away customers by the hundreds or thousands because you don’t stock certain ‘in demand’ items at Christmas, you will not only lose sales but also good will and loyalty.

In a large organization, the sales team on an account may not know about issues the customer is having. Customer personnel may be calling the service organization with their problems. In many cases the front line staff in support handle the problems from the customers in an efficient and effective way and the sales team need not know. But what if the customer is not happy with the resolutions being offered. The sales team may be preparing a new proposal for the customer or have a presentation planned with the customer. If the sales team doesn’t know there are hot issues, they may walk into a firestorm at the customer’s office and be ill prepared to handle it.

In many organizations, back office staff never get to speak to a customer, leading to problems with product features, usability, procedures,and maintainability . The authors of the book Rework talk about how they insist that back office workers spend some time on the front lines, several times during the year.

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