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Don’t Forget to Act on the “Parts”

Periodically, in my attempts to keep up-to-date on current business trends and all things related to improving the customer experience I will run across the time-honored phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

This of course is referring to the synergies created by combining resources in a way to create more of something (e.g. sales, efficiency) than would otherwise be gained separately.

Our Customer Loyalty Measurement initiatives are a lot like this. In most cases, primary research efforts reach out to only a sample of the entire customer population and by aggregating responses from this group of contacts, business decisions can be made to not only enhance the business itself, but also improve the experience for all customers. If you have been following this blog, you have seen many tips on how this information can be acted upon to reach this end.

But what about the “Parts” involved in the data collection process?  Action can be taken immediately upon receiving feedback from customers if account teams get involved.  You are missing out on an opportunity to provide real-time enhancement to business relationships if your action plans begin only after all of the data has been aggregated and ready to report.

The best CLM programs include a 360 degree closed-loop process that follows-up on specific feedback obtained during the primary research phase.  This is a fantastic way to show your customers you are listening to them and the account team cares and is involved in the process. You can prove the survey responses aren’t just going into a black hole never to be heard from again. And when customers know they are being heard, it will help ensure customers continue supplying feedback.

Account team members can follow-up shortly after a survey is completed to discuss issues that were raised, a specific request for contact, or to explore an opportunity to cross sell or up sell. There are only two key components:

1.       Act on the information shortly after it is received

2.       Follow- up in a professional, customer-service oriented approach geared toward determining how things can be improved for the contact

How impressed will your customers be when you take the time to listen to them and make a personal visit to see how you can help them? Even if it turns out there is no immediate need, the effort to make the visit (when done professionally) will enhance loyalty perceptions.

This is a great first action step in deploying customer-focused efforts.

Gary Szeszycki

Vice President – Client Services 

0 thoughts on “Don’t Forget to Act on the “Parts”

  1. Gary, your comments are something I can attest to given some of the things we’ve implemented at my company over the past year. One I would highlight is the follow-up we do on our post customer interaction survey. In addition to asking customers if they would recommend our company to others, we capture their verbatim comments about our service. Each comment is sent out to the supervisor and actual tech who helped the customer. They contact any customers who appear to still have open issues or concerns. Customers love the follow-up.

    Another more proactive approach we took was to start monitoring social media and technology websites where our customers may be posting comments about our services. We have a small group of people who are very upfront about being company employees and who contact the customers to resolve any open issues or concerns. I’d recommend both of these approaches to companies that are very serious about improving their customer experience.

  2. Bob, Thanks for the comments and the great tip on scanning online communities for comments about your services! The increasing growth and participation in these forums will eventually make it mandatory for companies to monitor these sites to seize opportunities to help customers, and conversely to minimize potential damage to the company brand.

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