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Most companies are structured as if the 5% of the workforce at corporate knows more than the 95% who actually talks to the customers. Of course they don’t articulate that. But look at the last twenty changes to your customer experience. Were nineteen generated directly from the field? Or was it closer to one?

You certainly believe in listening to the customer (or you wouldn’t be reading a blog called “Heart of the Customer!”). But do you have a structured methodology to collect ideas from the field, deliberately test them, and then roll them out? Or do you have the equivalent to the often-ignored suggestion box?

In 2006, when High-Definition TVs were just becoming popular, Best Buy had a problem. Accelerating HDTV sales drove significant growth. But underlying this growth was a huge issue with increasing levels of returns. Customers plugged their new $2,000 TV into their existing $20/month cable hookup, and the resulting picture looked terrible. While the Best Buy associates generally told shoppers about the need to upgrade to high-definition cable, most didn’t listen. So when their picture looked awful, they returned their TV.

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