In a previous post I talked about finding out what your customer really wants. Even though the whole thing seems pretty obvious, it seems as if interpretation always wins over plain listening. AS an easy example I would like to look at a situation which has to do with information retrieval. What a contractor is really looking for, is something that will tell him where the cables and pipes are exactly before he starts digging. What the person storing the information wants, is an easy map that can be filed as piping for water in second street. So when the contractor comes in and asks him what pipes he has to mind he just hands him a stack of maps. Easy to find and easy to hand over. But what the contractor would really love, would be a gps overlay on the city streets so he knows where he can point his digger when he arrives on the site.
Does this mean you need to work in new ways? It can. It means letting go of what is most convenient to you and offering service to your customers. Will they like it? They will love it. Everybody loves their suppliers to lend a hand getting the job done. And they will return.