We always talk about leveraging the customer more in our day to day development of the user experience and, often, we spend big dollars putting together panels or usability sessions that often leave us with more questions than answers.
Bryan Eisenberg introduced me (thanks!) to a great tool - Usertesting.com and I think that everyone - big, small, transactional, lead gen, info based and everything in-between needs to be using this tool.
The big difference with Usertesting.com over many of the other tools in the usability space is that it will give you and your team incredible flexibility - we are often using it to test out a new feature or idea so that we can focus on micro conversions or experiences vs site wide interactions. The other big advantage is that you can use this to understand upper funnel behavior as well as very specific interactions with media (for example Google search) as you are limited only by the story and where you want to start the tester (which can also be a blank screen).
Pricing starts at $39 for a test so you have no excuses tomorrow when you are talking about improving the user experience and don`t know where to start. There is no better way to get to a level of understanding what their needs are and the roadblocks they are experiencing than actually watching them interact. So get testing!