Have you lost touch with your customers?

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When was the last time you sat down and truly listened to a customer? When was the last time you took action on a customer’s request—even if it was a considered, “No, and here’s why”? I’ll bet it was too long ago.

In the recent Conversations with the CCO, Helen Burt, SVP and chief customer officer of Pacific Gas & Electric, mentioned that her company had lost the “high touch” customer experience it was once known for, contributing to the massive customer backlash in response to recent disasters. Not surprisingly, customer research indicated that trust had been lost.

Recognizing this, she implemented a “high touch” methodology as part of the massive pipeline pressure testing effort PG&E undertook. Activities included outreach to neighborhood meetings, community discussions held at local hotels, neighbor to neighbor discussions, outbound phone calls and letters describing the reasons for the testing, the process, and how it might impact the local residents. Follow-up surveys after testing was complete indicated that 83% of local residents felt safer as a result of the testing and outreach.

As companies grow, it becomes easier to abstract yourself from customers and become consumed with budgets, Wall Street projections, performance reviews, and cost cutting. It is unsurprising that customers are neglected, but they don’t have to be.

As executives, you need to explicitly and deliberately make the time to visit with customers, listen to their needs and desires, and take appropriate action. Sometimes just being heard makes the difference between a raving fan and a stark, raving enemy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Curtis Bingham
Curtis Bingham is the world's foremost authority on the customer-centric organization. He was the first to promote the role of chief customer officer as a catalyst for competitive advantage. He is the creator of the first CCO Roadmap and the Customer Centricity Maturity Model. He is the founder of the Chief Customer Officer Council, a powerful and intimate gathering of the world's leading customer executives. As an international speaker, author, and consultant, Curtis is passionate about creating customer strategy to sustainably grow revenue, profit, and loyalty.

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