In our world of customer service, it is our mission to keep customers.
“It is a privilege to serve you”, that is what the Banker told me today when I called for information regarding refinancing. Do your employees believe that serving your clients is a privilege? Do your clients feel like they are appreciated?
Nowadays a lot of consumer product and service companies are asking for feedback. Some companies incorporate the ‘how are we doing’ insight as a deep part of their company culture. Salesforce.com has a place for employees and customers alike to log their feedback. In “Behind the Cloud”, http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Cloud-Salesforce-com-, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff explains how and why they spent money to build their IdeaExchange forum. Many e-commerce sites ask at the end of a sale for feedback about the shopping experience. Brick and Mortar stores are now enticing shoppers to log in and provide feedback on their shopping experience in exchange for a ‘prize’.
What about the business-to-business companies? With customers locked into contracts, the same drive to listen and improve is not always as entrenched into the company culture. We can change that. Start by listening.
There are several easy-to-use, cost-effective online survey solutions now to help you launch a Listening Campaign. Polaris Marketing provides you with some sample questions if you are new at this. Survey Monkey, Question Pro, and Zoomerang are just a few online resources that will not only help you with the logistics of doing a survey but also help you formulate a strategy so you get the answers you need.
Online Surveys are not the only option. Make calls to a % of your client base every quarter or send out a brief survey with your monthly invoice. Depending on your product or service, this simple effort may be a huge differentiator for you.
Make sure your survey will give you actionable feedback. In other words, ask questions that will give you answers about specific experiences as your customer so you will know what to fix. General questions like “ Are you happy with your experience in working with us” give you a good indication of how your customers are feeling, but if they answer in a negative way you won’t know what part of the experience needs fixing.
Once you are ready to rollout a survey, you still have much more work to do. The most important element in asking for feedback is deciding what you are going to do about what the surveys say. Don’t bother asking if you don’t intend to allocate the time, resources or money to making changes.
Now it is time to put the feedback into actionable – who, by when and how – plans to make changes. You won’t be able to fix everything at once, but it is important for both your employees and your customers to see real change as a result of the surveys. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and set both short-term and long-term goals.
Now that you have launched your Listening Campaign, you will have the process for next time all mapped out. Quarterly? Semi-Annually? Annually? Whatever timeline works best for you and your business to ensure the feedback is put to use.
“There’s a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest.”
— Michael P. Nichols
The Lost Art of Listening
Barb Lyon, Consultant – Customer Service Strategies