The Two Obvious Things You Need To Know About Your Customers
There are lots of things that can be nice to know about your customers, but there are only two things you NEED to know. It is how loyal they are and why they are loyal or not.
The majority of companies I know of are having a hard time getting close to their customers. They fail in gaining a deep knowledge of what adds and detracts value to the cooperation. Conducting an annual customer satisfaction survey is an attempt to compensate for this. Customers are asked a series of questions, the input is analyzed and finally included in a report, that is discussed in meetings, most often at HQ management level. A report, that gives an evaluation of where you are and how you are performing compared to last year. But then what?
In most cases nothing more happens, since the outcome of the customer satisfaction survey is only evaluative. But, you do not need evaluations, you need actions. Lots of actions, that will make a positive difference to your customers. To create a system that results in lots of actions you need to keep it simple and to involve the employees that can make a positive difference here and now. Here are four simple steps to create actions that matter to your customers.
First of all, there is no reason to ask more than two questions; ”How likely is it that you would recommend our business to others”, and ”What are the reasons behind your assessment?”. This makes it easy and attractive for your customers to participate, and it does not result in data overload on your side.
Second, you ask you customers continuously. If you e.g. have 12.000 customers you will ask around 1.000 customers per month. If it is appropriate to ask each customer twice a year, it will obviously be double up and so on. This gets you close to your customers throughout the year, and not only at one particular point in time.
Third, make sure the customer feedback goes directly to the employees that have direct customer contact. This could be the store manager, the account manager or who else is in charge. Further, information should also go to e.g. the regional manager, the sales director and others of relevance, in order to create transparency in the organization about what the customers are saying. This way, the employees with direct customer contact are able to make frequent, minor changes, that in sum make a big difference to the customers.
Fourth, the employees with direct customer contact should systematically call customers that have been kind enough to participate in your short survey. Since they have accepted to participate they have something at heart, and most are positively surprised that their input is taken serious. This way the employees and the organization have the opportunity to get to the root cause of what creates customer delight or disappointment. It is the step with the biggest value creation, since it delivers deep customer insights and at the same time strengthens customer relations.
That is how easy it is to get close to your customers and get a deep understanding of where you create value to them.