Watch and Learn

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Watch and Learn

Interpreting the customer experience

By Andrea Hill

When I met Lenny Bloom, he was a 70ish independent sales rep and I was a 22-year-old buyer for a chain of video stores. He was a warm and thoughtful man, but I admit that, at first, I thought he might be getting a little too old for the job. At the end of each of our first two meetings, he asked what I was going to do once he left my office. Each time, I told him I was going to process the samples he had brought and complete my notes from the meeting. Each time he said, “Then you won’t mind if I just sit here for a spell?” I thought it a bit odd, but I had good manners and respect for my elders, so I said, “Of course not!” And since I could tell he didn’t mean to engage in further conversation, I simply went about my work, and let him rest in the chair in front of my desk.

When Lenny arrived for our third meeting, he brought me a box of retail shelf-talkers for the bookshelves lining my office walls because he noticed ...