Peter Drucker quote on Knowing Customers

This Peter Drucker quote on Knowing Customers exposes the danger of assumptions.

“What the people in the business think they know about customer and market is more likely to be wrong than right. Only by asking the customer, by watching him, by trying to understand his behaviour can one find out who he is, what he does, how he buys, how he uses what he buys, what he expects, what he values, and so on.”

It’s another plea in the interests of finding out what customers want. Because if we assume we know, we’re usually wrong. And that costs us.

I used to work for a business that sold systems that cleaned lubricating oil while the machine it was in was still working. We initially tried to sell it to quarrying companies. Their trucks desperately needed it, surely? No, if we’d done our research we’d have found out R&M – Repair and Maintenance – companies held the responsibility for maintaining trucks. The quarry companies didn’t care. It wasn’t their problem. We found out our mistake, but we wasted time.