Market leaders are exceptionally good at listening to their markets. It’s one of the reasons they are market leaders. In fact, it may be the most important reason. Listening to the market gives market leaders the next best thing to a crystal ball. It gives them what I call the Crystal Ball Effect: a greater level of understanding about the market that allows them to more effectively anticipate market needs, understand how to respond to them and generate better financial performance as a result.
To generate the Crystal Ball Effect, market leaders don’t just listen occasionally. They do so systematically. Every team member is taught to gather information and pass it along.
Not only do they listen, but market leaders act on what they hear. The feedback they get from their customers is one of the key drivers of decisions about the products and services they offer, the pricing structures they use, their distribution channel selections, the technology systems they use and how they promote their products.
Unfortunately, the average performers in the market, which is what most companies are considered, don’t listen. Worse yet, some companies solicit input and then ignore the feedback. There is little difference between this situation and that of a friend who asks for your advice and then ignores it. It frustrates the customer and may eventually cause them to stop giving advice or remaining your customer.
The reason companies ignore what their customers ...