Business & Finance
Commentary
5/20/2005
05:55 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Editor's Note: Reach Out And Touch A Customer

While sitting in the audience at a user conference a few weeks ago, I overheard two gentlemen talking behind me. (I wasn't being nosy, but they had to talk loud enough to hear each other over the music that was playing, so I couldn't help but hear them, too!)

One mentioned how unhappy he was in his new job, which wasn't coming off as he had expected or hoped. "I'm basically a lab rat now," he said. "I sit in my office and troubleshoot and do a lot of interesting things, but I have no access to customers." The other asked, "Why don't you just take some time out to meet with customers?" Sounds like logical advice, but unfortunately, that's a role that only sales and top execs play at his company, he responded. Apparently, that's the corporate culture.

Wow, what a shame. This guy wants to know what customers are thinking, he's eager to hear how he might improve what he does based on their feedback, and he can't get out of the office to meet with them or pick up the phone and call them? It's not like he's an accountant asking to get involved in the science of building rockets or anything.

I'd like to think that this company is an anomaly, but I did an informal poll of some of my friends in IT and heard some of the same things. For some, it wasn't a matter of corporate culture that they weren't allowed to make contact, but, rather, no one has thought to ask if they want to hear directly from customers. I've heard of companies that make innovation part of everyone's job description. Wouldn't it be nice if customer awareness and contact also were part of everyone's role? And I don't mean just in IT, but any business.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
sstahl@cmp.com


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Stephanie Stahl's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Stephanie Stahl, please visit her page on the Listening Post.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Tech Digest Oct. 27, 2014
To meet obligations -- and avoid accusations of cover-up and incompetence -- federal agencies must get serious about digitizing records.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.