Good companies should be close to the customer and fanatical about customer service. But this doesn’t mean that they should let the customer lead. Joseph Morone, President of Bentley College, notes that if you only follow the voice of the customer, “you’ll get only incremental advances.”
Doug Atkin, a partner at Merkley Newman Harty, rightly puts it this way:
These days, you can’t succeed as a company if you’re consumer-led — because, in a world so full of so much constant change, consumers can’t anticipate the next big thing. Companies should be idea-led and consumer-informed.” (Quoted in Re-Imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, 297).
That is an excellent insight:
Be consumer-informed, but idea-led.