Chapter 10. Connected companies get customer feedback

The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become, and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.

John Harley Davidson Russell

Learning requires feedback in order for performance to improve. The most important judge of service quality is the customer. Therefore, the most important feedback is customer feedback.

Performance is How Well You are Doing

Purpose gives you the context for learning by orienting you toward a goal. You can’t learn if you don’t understand the purpose. But once you are pointed in the right direction, you need a way to track your progress. You need feedback.

Companies typically track performance over time. They compare current performance to past performance and look for improvements. Most workers get the majority of their feedback from supervisors and managers, based on internal controls and metrics. But usually, and especially in times of rapid change, front-line workers know more about the context and requirements of the work than their bosses do.

Also, just because you are doing “better than before” does not mean you are doing well enough. It could be that even though you are making progress, you are not doing it fast enough to keep up with customer expectations. Customers not only compare your service to what you have done in the past, but they also compare it to their other alternatives, or even similar experiences in entirely different domains.

For example, once customers have gotten ...

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