Business & Finance
05:55 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Connect Directly

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

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
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 27, 2014
Who wins in cloud price wars? Short answer: not IT. Enterprises don't want bare-bones IaaS. Providers must focus on support, not undercutting rivals.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
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.