One thing that often gets overlooked in the gathering of customer feedback is what your customers tell you about the competition. Obviously, one of the primary objectives of any customer feedback initiatives is to gauge how your customers perceive their interactions with your company.
But, how you factor in any comparisons to other relationships your customers have may change the perspective on the feedback. For instance, let’s assume that 70% of your customers view your company as Easy to Do Business With. Sounds great, right? You might even be tempted to take this nugget of feedback and trumpet it out to the marketplace. That’s fine if you have benchmarking information that suggests the industry average for this concept is 50%. But, if 80% of your customers view your key competitor as Easy to Do Business With, then this is something you likely need to work on before you celebrate.
Two good examples of taking what customers have complained about have been used in high profile ads recently. Apple has done a good job exploiting feedback about Microsoft in humorous campaign around the launch of Microsoft’s new Vista OS.
Apple has not escaped criticism, and Motorola has recently launched a campaign targeted at some of the negative feedback received about the iPhone.
Both campaigns are humorous, but are made possible only when these companies listen to feedback about themselves, but also about their competition.
The same concept works on Loyalty, and can be even more powerful. In this scenario, if you’re measuring your customers’ relationships with the competition, you can begin to understand how plausible dual-loyalty is in your relationships. It’s very possible that while a customer is Truly Loyal to your company, they may also have a similar level of Loyalty to your biggest competitor. In that case, the ability for you to increase your share of wallet may be harder to achieve. However, if another customer is Truly Loyal to you, but High Risk to your competitor, this represents a very strong opportunity that should be explored to help you prioritize your time and resources.
So, while it’s good to be selfish when it comes to customer feedback, don’t forget that it’s not always just about you.
Vice President, Consulting Services