18Lessons from a Sample Customer Interview

This chapter contains a transcription of an actual customer testimonial conversation that I conducted on behalf of a client. This interview was conducted within a few months of writing this book. I've generalized and changed identifying facts to protect this generous and helpful customer and my client. My annotations are in italics below.

The CEO and Owner

This man, let's call him Tom Johnson, is the owner and chief executive officer who orders regularly from my manufacturing client. Tom uses my client's equipment in many of his company's jobs. Let's call my client X Co. Tom is constantly under pressure from his customers. So, when something is late or incorrect with his order from his manufacturers, he gets hammered by his customers, whose jobs are held up. In turn, he comes down hard on his manufacturers. It's a high-pressure job. He has kindly agreed to be interviewed about his experiences with X Co.

I make it clear that I'm calling on behalf of X Co., my client, but this conversation wouldn't look very different if the owner the company asked the same questions.

  1. Me: Tom, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it. As you know, X Co. is only talking with our best customers, and you are on the very short list.
  2. Tom: Oh, great, thanks, I have no idea how we got there!
  3. Me: We're trying to improve our service, and also how we talk about what we do. As you know, equipment manufacturing isn't the sexiest industry in the world, and the ...

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