PW: Innovation also involves customers and you have integrated the customer into GAF's innovation process. How have you gone about doing this?
AN: One of our customer relationship models is where our largest customers work with GAF through a separate channel called The Customer Zone. We haven't eliminated any other channels but they can work in this channel and they can do just about anything they need to do from a business perspective with GAF through this channel. That was really a collaborative effort between GAF and our customers. A joint team consisting of customer care and IT personnel that physically meet with customers and ask what types of things do they want to do? What will make it easier to do business with GAF? We then build these customer suggestions into the solution. It's a continuous improvement process to build upon our customer relationships.
I've also developed direct relationships with our customers. In some cases, they reach out to me directly to coach them through some technology issues. The reach out and say, "Adam, we're doing this. What do you think? Can you provide us some insight on this challenge?" It's not that we are smarter than anyone else. We just provide a different point of view. It also works in reverse. Sometimes I reach out to them and ask, "Can you help me understand what you are doing here. We want your insight." To me that's the partnership. That's the real value of GAF's business with our customers. It's not just a customer/manufacturer relationship, it's a true partnership.
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