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Worked a long time in engineering in bigcos an saw several attempts to increase the voice of the customer pervasively...not very successful in general but may be it's just my experience. My take is that if there's a good model in place, the whole organization will try to follow it. Often, I've seen middle managers (senior mgr, director and vp) spend 95% of their time inward, talk to a customer occasionally (usually when there's a fire). As a consequence, the voice of the customers stayed fuzzy, unreal, almost absent. Social media is a huge opportunity to change that if organizations truly opens up and organize themselves not only following internal mechanics but also external, customer driven ones. It may mean doing an inventory of the 1000s social media places relevant for the org and engaging the whole organization in their community.

I worked for a regional fast food place in the 80s. Company policy required EVERYONE (owner's personal assistant, warehouse workers, accountants, etc) to work one week a year in a restaurant.

@Nicoletta - every industry tends to be very inward-focused, it's the nature of the work to be focused on itself. It happens the same with couples, they are immersed in the experience so much that they lose the ability to see the dynamics. The good news is that there is a lot we can do each day to change just one routine, one little thing, and look at things from a different angle. Taking the customer seat is one of those eye-opening experiences. You forget yourself, and become immersed in what the other is saying.

@Christian - I like how you describe the experience of feeling "real and physical again". There is also the conversation around perspective - gaining one. When you stare at something for too long, you stop seeing it or what it could be - and possibility is priceless. As an experienced professional in value management, I am sure you appreciate every bit of the nuances of both situations - behind the screen emerges the self, in front of the client, emerges the dialogue (even the internal one).

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