Are company executives afraid of their customers?

fear_man1.jpg  According to the 2006 Customer Experience Management Global Survey by Strativity Group 65.8% of company executives don’t meet frequently with customers. The good news is that this year’s number is down a whopping 1% from last year’s.  Which makes one wonder, why do so few executives talk to customers on a regular basis???

Is it due to lack of time, of resources, or tools? I doubt it. It’s probably because most executives don’t know what it costs them NOT to talk to customers. How many know the cost of a customer complaint, or the cost of a lost customer?  As an executive, do you want to be the first or last person to know of problems?

Maybe it’s because there is no process around customer conversations.  Where do you start? Since all customers are not equal, try to get diverse perspectives with these three groups:

  1. Recent, first time buyers
  2. Long-term loyal customers
  3. Lost customers

To get the conversation flowing in the right direction, what one question would you ask each of these type of customers?

Here’s my list for now:

  1. Recent, first time buyers: What was it that convinced you to use our product/service?
  2. Long-term, loyal customers: What is it about us that keeps you coming back?
  3. Lost customers: What one thing could we have done to have earned your repeat business?

What would you add to this list?