Always Listening To The Customer Is A Race To Mediocrity
Always Listening to the Customer is a Race to Mediocrity
Always Listening to the Customer is a Race to Mediocrity

As a business owner, do you care what people think about your business and the decisions you make? More specifically, do you care what your customers think? Perhaps the short answer is, “yes,” however is that holding you back? With the onslaught of social media and review sites, everyone has an opinion, and it is easier than ever to be a critic. The plethora of social media platforms has provided folks with a megaphone to chant their dislike about this or that. The adage of “The Customer Is Always Right” burrows into our fear factor and may stifle innovation and necessary change to your business model.

You Need to Fix What is Broken

To be clear, if folks are posting that your service sucks, and that is a pattern, you need to fix what is broken. We are not suggesting that there isn’t something to learn from reviews and customer complaints. Arguably though, many times business owners already know what is broke before the negative reviews but are slow to react. Fix what is broken. Beyond that, break away from mediocrity and innovate and lead. And frankly, maybe upset a few apple carts along the way.

Rarely Listen to the Customer  

But what about the companies that are well run, the ones who do fix things that are broken, they can get just as much negative spewing. Think about the attack and rhetoric that Netflix has received the last two weeks. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion about how Netflix delivered the message, and what they should have done differently and how they have made a mess of things. Really, what about the other umpteen years they have delivered a stellar product at a radically low price point. The social media pundits come out of the woodwork for these occasions spouting off about “user experience,” when we should hail Netflix for innovation and forward motion.

 Your Customers Don’t Know Your Business

Perhaps we can all do a better job delivering news, however no one knows or sees what that Entrepreneur, CEO, or Business Owner sees. No one has the information he or she has to know why they made the decision they made. And here is another dirty little secret, your customers haven’t a clue about what your the next innovation or product release should be. Even the best evangelist, if they really exist don’t know the next answer, otherwise they would be the Entrepreneur.

In our own businesses, our best ideas were pushed back, almost squashed had we not just jammed them through to get the product to market. Your customers do not want change. Your employees do not want change. And typically your investors don’t really want change. A free service called Facebook rearranges the deck chairs and everyone freaks out, right. Many times those that are the most critical have little to no knowledge of business even, except that their little world looks or feels different. Strong businesses and brands become stronger because they do what THEY decide.

How about your business, do you hand over the innovation and wheel of change to your customers? Or do you persevere as the innovator at hand? Radical thoughts or foolish musings? The comments are yours.


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About the Author

Eric Brown
Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.

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