Strategic conversations with your customers helps hone the planning process

Michael Oleksak (Principal at Trek Consulting LLC, a firm that helps companies develop innovative strategies for facing challenges of growth, change and succession. You can reach him at

Handbook of Business Strategy

ISSN: 1077-5730

Publication date: 1 December 2005


This paper makes the case that customer feedback is a valuable input to a company’s strategy development. The paper also suggests a process for capturing and using this input. By following this process, a company is more likely to identify a strategy in sync with customer and market demands. Closer relationships will also grow between the supplier and customer as a result of the consultative approach to collecting feedback from the customer. The article is based on the author’s experience working with companies to develop fresh information about their businesses before undertaking strategy development. Customers of a company are involved in the market every day and have a different point of view than the company itself. Their observations on issues including new technologies, offerings by competitors, and market demands can help a company prepare for the next threat, or exploit a developing opportunity. The article describes in steps the path to follow if management decides to seek out customers’ views to obtain fresh information for strategic development. By introducing the concept and benefits of strategic customer conversations, and by outlining the steps to take to implement such a system, the reader can now embark on a process of extracting fresh information from customers in order to build or fine‐tune their own strategy. This will help the CEO, VP strategy, head of marketing, or business development head as they plan product, market or service strategies.



Oleksak, M. (2005), "Strategic conversations with your customers helps hone the planning process", Handbook of Business Strategy, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 303-308.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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