Chapter 5. How companies lose touch

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Bill Microsoft Gates

Companies tend to lose touch with customers as they grow, for a variety of reasons. Companies must find ways to create, maintain, and develop deep connections as they grow.

Why Do Companies Lose Touch?

Running through every business success story is a common theme: stay connected to customers, stay connected to your market, anticipate and expect change. This seems pretty obvious. It’s simple and it’s easy to understand. Customers, after all, are the one thing no business can do without. They are the key to every company’s survival.

Paying attention to customers seems like such a fundamental thing. So why do so many companies do it so poorly? How do companies lose touch with their customers, and lose their grip on the realities of the marketplace?

As any athlete will tell you, just because something’s fundamental, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

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Without question, customers are the single biggest factor in any company’s long-term growth and profitability. And yet, as companies grow, distractions multiply. Success can create such a dazzling array of opportunities that companies try to capitalize on too many of them, over-expanding and diluting their offerings. Internal efficiency and organization become paramount as companies struggle to maintain their growth trajectories ...

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