Chip Bell and John Patterson's Customer Loyalty Guaranteed belongs in your marketing library. (Thanks Sonny Lykos for sending it to me.)
Today, I received an interesting comment to my Dec. 9 posting "About Showerheads and Observing", specifically Chip Bell and John Patterson's book: Customer Loyalty Guaranteed which advocates, among others learning how to observe your clients close-up. The authors cited Moen's initiative in watching people take showers -- using this first-hand insight to design better shower-heads.
We are a CM firm and ironically enough, have worked with Chip Bell and John Patterson. There should not be any beating around the bush on this topic. Get right to the heart of what you are trying to get, information from the customer. There is nothing better than face to face dialog, not disguised with lunch and learns nor surveys. The hard part is asking the right questions and getting answers from someone who is willing to share. Our experience has been that if people know that you need their help and that you will act on their information, they will take the time and will be honest. The next best approach is to get a third party to diffuse the tension that may exist from a customer that wants to speak his mind.I think this comment has real merit. Sometimes we make things complicated, and over-structured. Speaking with our clients, listening to them, and learning from them can provide valuable insights to improve our relationships -- and our businesses.