You can throw all the marketing effort you like at telling customers what you want them to believe.

Some of it will stick to people who’ve never used your products and services. But customers, those people who’ve actually taken money out of their bank account and put it into yours, already know what it’s like to deal with your company. They have opinions all of their own.

You may not want to hear them. Maybe you value your own opinion more, or you’re scared about what you’ll hear, you only do it for art, it’s all about the transaction, all we need is the Net Promoter score. La, la, la, la, la.

Thing is … whether you listen or not … they’re telling their friends. And their friends trust home-grown opinion more than all your marketing cleverness put together.

So what are customers saying about you? How easy is it to deal with your company? Do the products live up to the promise? Is it value for money? Are they glad they went your way?

Remove every barrier and listen hard. One word answers and everything dissolved into a single digit might be good for board reports, but building a company takes tons of insight. The smart money taps the vein and demands a strong flow.

Skippy Strategy: How can you find out more about what your customers think? One way: ask.

Keeping Promises