31 July 2006

Talk to our customers? Are you crazy? [Fast Company]

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putting people first
by experientia

Customer observation at Credit Suisse
Stephan Kubler spends each and every working day spying on Credit Suisse customers. He’s part of a small team led by customer-experience renegade David McQuillen, a 36-year-old American who’s challenging the top executives at the blue-chip Swiss bank to get out of their Zurich offices and–gulp!–meet some customers.

Almost every company has something about customer focus in its mission statement. Trouble is, the larger the organization, the more executives tend to insulate themselves from customers. Some rely on customer-satisfaction surveys and focus groups. Others simply assume that customers are just like them.

No, they’re not, says McQuillen. And the problem with thinking they are is that companies end up creating products and processes that suit them, not their customers. “You need,” he says, “to go out and talk to customers to find out what they want.”

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