Outside Opinions Matter

1657993319_6713d32f33A week or so ago there was a great post by Tom at QAQNA about the importance of outside opinions in customer service. It was a follow up to a post that Maria from CustomersAreAlways had made a few days earlier.

The article that both Tom and Maria talk about points out something that so few executives realize: your customer service isn’t as good as you think it is.

Another related aspect is: you don’t know what your customers want. Okay, that is perhaps a bit exaggerated, but often executives don’t have as solid an understanding as they think they do about customer wants and needs.

This is perfectly understandable. When you work within a company every day for a year, two years, or twenty years, you have a different perspective than an outsider. You may make excuses about why something can’t be done more than an outside, might not see the obvious, etc. It happens to everyone. It is impossible to be completely objective when you’ve worked inside a company for a while.

Companies should actively seek outside opinions. The opinions can be from professionals like consultants or auditors, or from customers, partners, etc. As long as the outside opinions are being provided. If companies can get that sort of outside perspective, then they will hopefully benefit.

Looking from the outside in can be very good for someone. I also encourage executives to try and do the frontline jobs for a few days. I’ve seen it done at some companies and it is really interesting (and often beneficial) for executives to do frontlines jobs. Work in your store folding clothes, answer the phones, that sort of thing. You’ll get a whole new appreciation of your employees as well as ideas about what can be done to improve.

The best companies (in all aspects – not just customer service) seek opinions from outsiders. I am pretty confident in saying that there is not one great company or customer service department for that matter that doesn’t ask for help from outsiders every now and then.

Dealing with and making use of those outside opinions? That is a whole different story.