Listening to Customers

Many companies implement customer suggestions when those suggestions challenge the company’s core principles. In response to customer suggestions for a less cluttered store, Walmart cut its total inventory by 15% and renovated stores to feel less cluttered. The changes resulted in immediate decreases in sales that totaled $1.85 billion dollars before Walmart reverted to its previous model of a much wider selection of products at low cost.

A leading manufacturer of bathroom fixtures is perhaps the most traditional example of a company that must collaborate with and understand the needs of its customers. It must constantly innovate and improve its products with its current and prospective customers in mind.

To this end, the company says: “To the customer, it can seem like each faucet was made with them in mind. We listen closely to what consumers want and need, invest in extensive research and design, and apply smart technological solutions that really do make our customers’ lives easier.” In other words, the how of their innovation process is largely defined by their customers.

In a major US-based international construction company, each of its projects is unique and requires a high degree of collaboration and dialogue with the customer. According to the company’s website, “We work with our clients as a team. Mutual respect provides the foundation for our success.”

Customers expect companies to listen to their input about how a project should look or be completed and create a plan in line with those expectations. The construction company’s website summarizes this idea by emphasizing the importance of finding solutions to their customers’ demands: “We are proactive in finding solutions for our clients that best achieve their goals.“