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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

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