Something that has been bothering me since the Donkey kick story has been the vileness of how companies treat their people.
There are two kinds of people a company has: Internal and external.
Internal people are, generally speaking, your employees. They are your producers. They make the products that your sell.
They need to realize that they are all in sales, they may not see the client very often, but they need to be trained to talk to them. The engineers can't be safe in their cubes being spoon fed by management what the client wants, like a game of telephone. They need to be out there with the customers finding out what the clients problems and pains really are and making that pain go away.
These can even by customer evangelists who are promoting your products even if you don't pay them. These are powerful people get to know them.
External people are your clients. They are your customers who buy your products, your shareholders who buy the money your products bring in, or suppliers you provide you with raw materials. These are the people whose pains you're easing or are easing your pains.
Keeping in close contact with these people is vital. It is far easier to maintain a relationship then it is to start a new one. All it takes is a call or a letter every few weeks to keep the relationships going.
Get feedback and referrals from your clients, it will make your products better and help you sell more to people who you don't know.
They should be better educated from being in contact with you then if they were not. Nothing is worse for a relationship then if the other person feels he knows less after talking with you.
I just had to get all that out.