Customers buy your product or service with the expectation that it will solve a problem they have. If you don’t understand your customer, you may miss the problem they are really trying to solve. If you cannot understand why your customer has acquired your product or service, you may talk to them in an unfamiliar language. You may not understand their problem. And you may make policy decisions that are inappropriate for the market you serve. You may service your product incorrectly. You may sell to the wrong audience with expectations you don’t satisfy. The effect of these misunderstandings or poor policies or service will be customer dissatisfaction, negative word of mouth and loss of brand image, resulting in lower sales.

Have you ever had the problem that management and employees who are not on the front line, don’t focus on how they personally impact customer satisfaction? This is a common problem in large organizations. In my years at IBM, it was one of the key challenges. Often decisions made in departments removed from day to day interaction with customers set policies, designed systems or created products, services or promises that were not customer friendly or could not be implemented in the real world. Here are some tips to get buy in and focus internally.

Many organizations plan conversions or modifications that affect them internally and may make changes relevant to their customers. It should be obvious. When an organization makes a change that affects customers, the business should communicate with them about it. Be sure when creating a plan to modify some aspect of your organization, that you consider the customer’s perspective. Planning how the customer perceives the change will impact customer satisfaction with your products and services.

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