“Kudos” to all companies out there that have a customer listening program! While it seems like a general thing that nearly all companies do, in my experience I’ve found that many do not put enough focused energy into really listening to customers. It goes without saying that customers are the heart of any business, and a huge factor in how and if companies will be able to achieve growth. That said, even companies that have made customer listening a priority need to revitalize their efforts every few years. Here are a few keys to success for revitalizing your program.
1. Make it a priority to measure success of current initiatives every few years. A full assessment of any customer initiative every few years can be eye opening. Measure success and confirm areas for improvement with regards to how information is gathered, how relevant it is to users, how it is communicated and validated, and ultimately if the right resources are in place to take action.
2. Systematically ask internal users if the right information is being gathered from customers in order to take action. Ensure that lines of communication are always open between users of information and the central customer listening group.
3. Assess KPIs and metrics annually to ensure that customer measurements are in alignment with company strategies. Strategies evolve over time, as should key performance indicators. At a minimum, make sure that what metrics are being tracked internally can be aligned and linked to customer feedback.
4. Break through the clutter. This is easier said than done, but ensuring that information is relevant to a particular user or group will make all the difference. Providing internal stakeholders with information that can help them succeed in their positions will certainly get their attention. For executives, make sure that customer feedback is ultimately linked to how it can help the company succeed financially, particularly as it relates growth.
As with any change or revitalization effort, communication is the key. Get buy-in from all critical people within your organization to ensure a smooth transition as changes are made.
Vice President, Consulting Services