Customer Visits: Building a Better Market Focus

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Customer focus. Market driven. Total quality. All new terms, promising a new way of conducting business. But, how do you move an organization to make it more market driven? How do you organize product development so that real user needs are addressed? How do you change hearts and minds so that employees in all parts of the organization take responsibility for customer satisfaction? Drawing on the best practices found at leading technology firms, Customer Visits: Building a Better Market Focus offers a complete guide to all aspects of planning and executing a customer-visit program - managers and engineers visiting the customer at their place of business. A wealth of specific advice is offered on topics such as the right and wrong kinds of objectives, how many customers to a visit, how to prepare a discussion guide, how to coordinate visits with the sales force, how to build rapport, effective and ineffective questions to ask customers, and traps and pitfalls in the analysis of data from visit programs. Every aspect of the book focuses on the manager who wants to act - now. Managers and engineers engaged in new product development will discover a wealth of information for finding out what customers really want. Executives charged with continuous improvement will discover a practical and cost-effective approach for motivating employees to focus on customer satisfaction. And marketing researchers, scholars, and students will be on the cutting edge of a critical research technique for the 1990s and beyond.
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Editorial Reviews

McQuarrie (marketing, Santa Clara U.) explains how businesses that market to businesses, and particularly firms that offer product categories that are technically complex, can devise affordable action plans for programmatic visits to customers and, as a result, become aware of and satisfy their customers' needs. He describes ways to coordinate visits with the sales force, effective and ineffective questions to ask customers, and pitfalls in the analysis of data from visits. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803946699
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 9/10/1993
  • Pages: 192

Meet the Author

Edward F. McQuarrie is Professor in the Department of Marketing, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 1985. His research interests include customer value, qualitative research, and market research appropriate to technology products, on the one hand, and advertising research, rhetoric and semiotics on the other. He has also written the book, Customer Visits: Building a Better Market Focus, and published articles in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Management, Marketing Research, Journal of the Market Research Society, Journal of Advertising Research, and the Journal of Advertising. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Consumer Research.

He is currently Associate Dean for Assessment & Improvement at the Leavey School, responsible for the assessment of learning outcomes and the evaluation of teaching. He was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies 1996-2000, responsible for the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Professor McQuarrie has moderated focus groups since 1980, for Burke Marketing Research among others.

He has consulted for a variety of technology firms, and has taught seminars on Effective Customer Visits, Managing Focus Group Research, Marketing Research Methods, and similar topics for Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Apple Computer, Tektronix, Varian Associates, Cadence Design, and other clients.

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Table of Contents

1 The Contribution of Customer Visits to a Market Focus 3
2 The Customer Visit in Practice: Some Examples 26
3 Planning a Program of Visits 35
4 Conducting the Visits 77
5 Completing the Visit Program 119
6 The Analysis of Visit Data and the Question of Generalizability 131
7 The Customer Visit in Perspective 143
8 History and Future Prospects of Customer Visits 152
Appendix A: Checklist for Planning a Customer Visit Program 160
Appendix B: Methodology for Research Conducted at Hewlett-Packard 163
References 166
Index 169
About the Author 173
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