How much exposure does your entire organization get to your customers?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How much exposure does your entire organization get to your customers?

  • A lot. Every function of our company regularly interacts with customers: 34%
  • Some. Occasionally customers will meet with specific groups they have to interact with: 29%
  • Little. Only sales, marketing, the front line and support really interact with customers: 38%

Know your customer. Just because a function is “behind the lines” that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expose them to customers. Bring a customer in for a team meeting. Invite customers to speak at your off-sites. The more clarity everyone has around who the customer is and what matters to them, the better your organization can serve them. It doesn’t have to be frequent and it doesn’t require a lot of effort but it can yield huge results. New ideas and opportunities can come from those interactions. It will also help ground your team in why the work they do is important. Take advantage of the opportunity to know your customers more closely.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."