How Customer Partnerships Lead to Internal Success

The ultimate partnership is that between suppliers and customers. It is said that the customer defines quality, and in a true customer partnership, customers should be involved in the product design/definition process for all except the most innovative items, so that quality and performance can be properly defined. Many companies either over- or underspecify products because they never asked what the customer needed.

In some cases, customers don’t know what they need, and, in that case, innovators should push on but quickly gather feedback for design updates in the second round of release. Apple is very good at this. Steve Jobs often said that customers would have never asked for an ...

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