In my column over at Fortune, I note that a common pattern for companies who get themselves into trouble is that they somehow ‘lose touch’ with their customers. I attribute this in many ways to the dangers of the ‘exploitation’ phase of a competitive advantage. When things seem to be going exceptionally well, it can be really easy to coast a bit, let the best practices of customer intimacy slide a little and otherwise take one’s eye off the ball. That’s one reason why in a transient advantage economy, it pays never to take today’s customers for granted.
And getting information about what customers like and don’t like is easier than ever. They’ll take to social media and tell you when you’re letting them down – take this sad post from a woman who proclaimed her love, love, love for Target. Pay attention, senior leaders!