The technique, developed by Sakichi Toyoda, asserts that "by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear."
If you like The Biggest Loser star Jillian Michaels, chances are, you've seen this technique applied as she tackles the rising obesity problem facing our nation.
Here is an example of how Jillian uses this technique in her latest TV series Losing it with Jillian:
Jillian: "Why are you always hiding in the corner?"
Ashley: "I'm just quiet."
Ashley: "Because I'm afraid of rejection."
Ashley: "Because I don't trust people."
Ashley: "Because of my dad. He broke my trust."
You'll notice in this example, Jillian did not need to ask "Why?" five times before reaching the root cause.
The value in this approach isn't in the perameter of five, but instead it is avoiding assumptions and creating a process in which the root cause has a direct connection to the original problem.
Are you using the five why approach in your customer retention programs? If not, consider adding this approach to your process for customer listening and creating customer value.