Creating Customer Value:

Listen To Your Customers

Procter & Gamble

Success Stories Best Business Practices Using Internet as a Customer Listening Device

Adapted from Don't Shout, Listen, Fara Warner

The Tree of Online Success

At Procter & Gamble, branding is almost everything. In the age of the Web, P&G turned the Internet into a device for listening to customers and for experimenting with its brands. "We've been voted the best marketer of the 20th century," says Greg Icenhower, an associate director of corporate communications at P&G, referring to a ranking published by Advertising Age magazine. "But that's because we were the biggest shouters. In the 21st century, we want to be the best listeners."

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P&G has stepped up its experimentation because it has discovered an ideal laboratory for doing so: the Internet. To relaunch, Icenhower had put together a skunk-works team that included him and seven other P&G people, some of whom had no relevant Internet experience. While rebuilding the site, the team undertook none of the intense testing that P&G would normally insist on devoting to such a high-profile project. On the contrary, Icenhower convinced his bosses that the focus of his team's work should be on experimentation. "I told them that we wouldn't get everything right but that by making mistakes, we would start learning lessons immediately."

 For P&G Web strategists, the key to success on the Net may lie in the union of content and brand. Using test markets auditioning a product in selected locations in order to find out what sells and what doesn't is important when you develop new products. Before rolling out a new product nationally, the company typically spends several months and millions of dollars to conduct field tests in a handful of midsize cities. But the Internet has fostered new, more efficient ways to sound out customer attitudes toward product innovation. As A.G. Lafley told shareholders in 2000, "By doing a test online, we can do it for a tenth of the cost in a quarter of the time."

Benefits of e-Business

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Listening To Your Customers

Customer Listening Tips

Selling (and Silence)

Customer Feedback


Retaining Customers

Customer Satisfaction

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Service-Profit Chain


Creating Customer Value

Customer's Perspective of Quality

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