"Our customers are stupid." "They don't know what they are talking about." "These people complain all the time."
Your customers send signals, messages, feedback all day long. But unless you have a healthy, mature concept of how to receive this information, you'll wind up sounding like the person in the first paragraph. And then your customers will walk away without telling you why.
I had the opportunity to go to a seminar not long ago. Afterward, I sent an email with my thoughts and critique of why I thought the seminar was a disappointment and offered some suggestions to help. Most would tell you not to bother, that marketers really don't care and won't listen. And they may be right. But in this case, not only did my email get answered, I received a phone call from the VP of Sales asking me if there was anything else I noticed or didn't like about the seminar. Then I received a letter following up the phone call. Now, this doesn't mean they are going to do anything with the critique I sent in, but chances are good if they have gone to this much work to follow-up, the next seminar is going to be better.
This company obviously had a mature and positive outlook regarding feedback. They didn't run scared and try to hide. They took the information, let the information tell a story and considered the consequences of not changing.
On the other hand, I sent almost the exact same critique 3 weeks ago to another company that co-sponsored the same seminar ($7 billion company) and have yet to hear a word. Yikes!
Your customers are talking...are you listening?