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What customer advocates can learn from The Biggest Loser

One effective technique for uncovering the root cause of customer issues, complaints, and even successes is the "Five Whys."

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."
Jillian: "Why?"
Ashley: "Because I’m afraid of rejection."
Jillian: "Why?"
Ashley: "Because I don’t trust people."
Jillian: "Why?"
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.  

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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