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Category: Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Leslie Pagel

What’s the Best Measure of Success?

Have you heard of Conscious Capitalism? It’s a global movement that inspires business leaders to define success beyond profits. Conscious businesses subscribe to a win-win-win model. They aim to provide positive value in profit, people and the planet. One of the challenges that customer experience professionals face is demonstrating the impact or success of the

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Reflections & Resolutions

As we head into 2010, many people will look back and reflect on the past year.  The media helps in the reflection process, providing lots of “Top 10 lists.”  The most comprehensive list I have seen is Time Magazine’s The Top 10 Everything of 2009.  There are lists of movies, pictures, sports moments, and awkward moments.  There are lists of the best websites, the best television shows, and the best inventions. 

The end of year just seems like a good time to take stock, to reflect on what went well and what didn’t work out exactly as expected.  You might reflect on whether you have achieved your target fitness level, or trained to run a marathon in a certain amount of time, or spent more quality time with your family, or read a certain number of books.   After reflecting, a logical next step is to make resolutions for what you want to do differently in 2010.  What habits will you change?  What things will you stop doing?  What will you start doing?

Similarly, this is a good time to take stock of your Customer Feedback program.  You might reflect on the actions you have taken this year.  What initiatives have been put in place?  What has worked well, improving the customer experience?  What efforts stalled?  Why?  Given what you know about your customers, what habits should you change in 2010?  What should your team stop doing?  Or, start doing?

With any good resolution, it is important to keep your goal measurable and achievable.  For example, if your goal is to ensure all account teams have easy access to customer information, then consider making Walker Link available to all account managers. 

2010 Resolution:  Take action on customer feedback!

Kitty Radcliff
Vice President

Naughty or nice?

Santas_ListIf your customers were helping Santa Claus check his naughty and nice list, which one would your company fall into this year? Have you been good all year? Just like Santa, your customers see you when you’re sleeping (or simply ignoring their requests), they know when you’re awake (like when you’ve actively listened to their feedback, and made changes accordingly. They know when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

If you haven’t done so yet this year, as you prepare for 2010, perhaps now is a good time to take stock of the things that your company has done to improve how you listen and engage with your customers.

  •  What things have you started doing this year based on customer feedback?
  • What things have you stopped doing based on customer feedback?
  • What things have you done more of based on customer feedback?

Do your customers know what you’ve done, and if so have you seen the benefits of these changes yet? While customers are typically forgiving, it may take some time for them to believe you’re not simply trying to fool them into a false sense of security with you.

If you’ve made changes, have you remembered your former customers in your communications? If they left you for a particular reason that has been fixed, have you made an effort to patch up the relationship in order to grow your business?  I’ll cite one personal example of a company that did just that.

I used to be a long-time subscriber to XM Satellite Radio (now Sirius-XM). However, after their recent merger, I felt like the quality of their programming was weakening, and the amount of programming I received for my regular subscription fee was shrinking, so I decided to call them up to cancel. Amazingly, during my conversation with the very polite representative, no questions were asked about why I wanted to cancel, and I was not enticed by any other offers to stick around. 

However, prior to the holiday season, the folks at Sirius-XM sent me a note indicating that they were re-instating my subscription for a short period of time to reacquaint me to their offerings and how they’ve changed since my cancellation. They caught me at a good time, because I’m a bit of sucker for holiday music, so I took them up on their offer. I did listen to their content for another two weeks, and I’m contemplating renewing my subscription as a result of the personal attention I received. It was a small gesture, but one that made me feel like more than a number to them, and gave me reason to put them in my thoughts.

So, don’t forget to make sure that your customers, and Santa, know when you’ve been nice this year.

Happy holidays and best wishes in 2010!

Brad Harmon
Vice President, Consulting Services

Patrick Gibbons

A framework for customer listening tools

I don’t believe anyone has the definitive answer on how social media is changing the way we listen to customers, but it’s clear that more tools are quickly emerging. In preparation for a presentation at our recent Walker Fall Forum, I began to consider a way to sort out the various uses, applications, and pros and cons of these tools. Without a place to start, what is one to do? Easy — do what any wise consultant would do. Draw a two-by-two chart!

That’s what I did. And I invited colleagues Leslie Pagel and Jeff Wiggington to collaborate with me.

After some deliberation, here is what we developed as a starting point. A brief description is below.

Content. Traditional methods (surveys, verbatim comments, customer advocacy boards, and online customer panels) are included along with emerging social media tools (private communities, public communities, social networks, blogs and micro blogs).

Control. Plotted on the horizontal axis is the degree of control customer strategists have over the feedback they receive. For instance, surveys provide a lot of control because you’re the one asking all the questions. In contrast, you hand over virtually all control in the feedback you receive from micro blogs.

Influence. The vertical axis shows the degree of influence customer insights would typically carry from each source. Customer advisory boards and surveys tend to carry a lot of weight while many are skeptical of customer insights delivered through micro blogs.

Engagement. The size of each circle represents the level of engagement of each tool. For instance, customer surveys aren’t terribly engaging – you ask questions and you get responses. However, communities and social networks are very engaging and can produce different types of customer insights.

The Goal. The goal for customer strategists is to get the most out of each tool so that it rises in the level of influence it carries. There are strengths and shortcomings to each, so we should look for ways to use each tool in ways that produce the richest, most relevant insights to drive your business. 

What do you think?

Are the characteristics relevant for customer listening programs? Are the right tools listed for developing a customer relationship strategy? What is missing?

Comments encouraged!

Make it Easy

Have you ever had a situation that you were dreading, but turned out to be not so bad? That happened to me recently when I needed to take my son to a local flu shot clinic. We weren’t having any luck with the flu shot supply at our doctor’s office, so we loaded up the family and went to a flu shot clinic. I expected it to be a torturous experience. I imagined a line of people hundreds deep, with a wait time that was measured in hours, not minutes. Much to my surprise, the event was very well coordinated and staffed, which resulted in us getting right and out. When leaving, it struck me how easy the whole thing was.

What lesson is there for us as customer advocates? In order to motivate our organizations to take action, we must make it easy for them to participate in the process. If we don’t, employees will view it as just one more thing that they need to and will be looking for ways to avoid it. Think of your company when answering the following questions:

  • Is there an efficient process in place for sales teams to provide customer contact names?
  • Do people know where to go to get feedback that customers provided?
  • If they do know where to go, is it easy for them to retrieve it?
  • Is there an easy way for people to document the action they have taken with customers?

If you are like most organizations, the answer to one or more of the questions above is “no.” When designing the customer feedback system, focus on making the process easy for people to participate in.  Think about how the process can be embedded into existing processes and management systems. Use technology to enable efficiency around program administration and documentation activities. If successful, I bet you find that the uphill battle on getting employees to participate won’t seem so steep.

Melissa Meier
Vice President, Client Service