One of the biggest criticisms about testers and QA organizations is that they do not understand the business or the end-user. If you believe this to be true, it sends a clear message about not having a value-adding testing team of professionals. The more you know about the ultimate customer or end-user, the more you will become an effective, risked-based tester.
When I led QA teams in the past, I made “knowing your customer” a major performance criteria for my staff. To ensure this, I arranged field trips with business development to customer sites and had the testing team view how and why the end-users actually used the system or application. Upon returning from these field trips, the QA team started to modify how it approached end-to-end and user acceptance tests. It was so beneficial that the number of critical end-user defects dropped by more than 20 percent in a very short period of time.