Urban contends — and his research bears out his conclusions — that being honest and open is the way to win both trust and customers. But how to convince them you're being open and honest? Give them as much information and advice as they need to make an informed decision, Urban says, even when it's not necessarily in your company's best interest.
Urban is proving his point with real companies and real customers. His Web innovation helped General Motors build a revolutionary Internet site — the AutoChoiceAdvisor. It is fast becoming a legend in the marketing world and has been celebrated in many consumer columns. The site helps car shoppers find the vehicle that best suits their needs. At the same time, the Auto Choice Advisor processes that customer feedback to help GM design a new generation of vehicles in line with consumer preferences.