This post is part of the Deep Thoughts at Dreamforce Series of candid interviews with customer experience thought leaders. You can view the other videos in the series here.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff is a consultant who has spent a large chunk of her career helping companies build better customer relationships. This is no longer an optional business initiative. With increased access to information, competition, and real-time opinions from other customers, providing an exceptional customer experience is a key piece of running a successful business. 

Dr. Nat's approach is less than conventional. When asked why it's so hard for companies to become truly customer-centric, she shared some tough love: “Strategy that involves common sense is nearly impossible for large companies to do." 

She takes it a step further, pointing to the leadership that allows customer priorities to slip by the corporate wayside. "if you're a C-level and you're not customer-focused, you need to be fired," she says. Customer feedback isn't something to be feared. Rather, it's something incredibly important to listen to, like the canary in the coal mine. Companies that haven't traditionally operated this way can change, but it requires providing ample opportunities for your customers to engage in a conversation with you. It requires listening to what they have to say, responding in a way that is both empathetic and helpful, and taking their feedback seriously when it's time to make a decision.

What do you think? Do you agree with Dr. Natalie's tough love approach? Share your thoughts in the comments.