The beauty of the relationship between customer base and company is that it is totally measurable. The sole criterion of success here is measured by whether the customer continues to come back. Listening to customer needs builds a loyal base. If all of the sudden a company starts getting less repeat business, it probably means that it is not doing as good of a job as it could be of listening to the needs of its base.
It is easy for a company to jump to assumptions about its customers, but that only goes so far and usually leads to a disconnect between customer and the company down the road. As it moves forward, the company will be unable to connect with its customers on a larger scale without understanding what their needs are and how to address them. Listening to customers becomes an even more valuable tool as business climates and cycles change.
-Eric Priceman, Victory