Listening to customers is not enough. You must listen to the right ones.

Is the feedback you are getting for your website truly reflective of the needs of the majority of your customers? Too often, websites get feedback that reflects the ‘squeaky wheel’ syndrome. (The squeaky wheel gets oiled.)

Are the customers who give feedback reflecting the top tasks of the average customer or do they have exceptional tasks and demands? Because if their tasks and demands are exceptional then changing your website to meet them may be the worst thing you could do.

Management’s job is to use limited resources to achieve maximum return.

Many websites attempt to do and be everything for everybody. The intentions are good but the results are not.

Listening to customer feedback is of course usually a positive thing to do. But if what a particular customer wants does not reflect general customer demand then, in most circumstances, you should not respond to that wish. Here’s why.

There are always a small set of top tasks within an environment that have huge demand. Then, there is an almost limitless supply of exceptional tasks and demands from customers. If we pursue the exceptions we reduce the time we have to make the top tasks better and add complexity for the customers trying to find and
complete these tasks.

Just because one customer asks for something doesn’t mean we should do it. We must decide if this is a top task that is emerging or that we might have missed. We must also calculate the cost to our resources and to our other customers’ time and attention.