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Ostrich or Owl?

Most companies would be quick to tell you just how customer-focused they are. Most of their customers might beg to differ. In fact, in a recent study we found that 90% of executives feel that their company is customer focused, yet not even two-thirds of them use customer insights in making strategic decisions.

Many companies seem to be like ostriches, choosing to put their heads in the sand and not listen to their customers. It’s better to know! Many of the most successful companies are more like owls, using a very keen sense of hearing to listen to their customers and react accordingly. (An owl can hear a mouse step on a twig from 75 feet away.)

Companies spend huge marketing budgets to attract new customers, yet sometimes can ignore their existing ones. Another example that comes to mind is the way in which cities spend their economic development dollars. Cities give tax breaks and all sorts of incentives to attract new businesses. What is done to retain businesses that are already there providing jobs? What are companies doing to listen to their existing customers and build on the relationships that they have worked so hard to develop?

Remember, it’s better to know! If you don’t currently have various listening posts in place to really understand what your customers think, do it now. Waiting or procrastinating or trying to convince yourself that you are customer-focused only causes a delay in enjoying the rewards of being customer-focused. Most companies have a significant percentage of customers that are ready to leave them and they don’t even know who they are.

Want an uptick in your business performance? Be an owl. Listen to your customers and build customer strategies that are good for them and good for you. You will notice the difference quickly.

About the Author

Phil Bounsall

Phil Bounsall

As president at Walker, Bounsall is focused on the development and execution of strategies and operating plans designed to enhance Walker’s position as a global leader in customer intelligence. Bounsall also works with Walker’s client service teams to help meet the needs of Walker’s clients.

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