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Not just willing, but are they able to follow up?

You may have seen sales or marketing executives frustrated when customer survey results are obtained and distributed to those responsible for the accounts, yet are not visibly acted upon. .

When feedback is actionable, why aren’t more work teams taking action? The knee-jerk answer tends to be that people don’t want to change. But action-taking hinges on more than just their will to take action. They must be able to do so, and that means overcoming certain barriers.

For all the talk of empowerment, more is needed. Most employees need to be better equipped to effectively serve customers. A study published by Strativity said, despite recognizing the growing importance of customer strategies, a third or less of workers feel their company has compensated or equipped them to solve customer problems.

My experience has shown that you enable sales, account and customer support leaders to more effectively use customer feedback by:

  • Designed a results format for their team and teach them to use it. Craft reports to hone in on the team’s subject matter, be it a specific account or a support process such as customer service. Make reports easy to understand, by highlighting two or three priority areas for action. Teach how to apply root cause analysis, and initiate change.
  • Integrate the use of customer feedback into ongoing jobs and routines. Account teams often have created key account plans. Cross-functional teams or departments budget for special initiative and reset metrics periodically. Work with each group to integrate the customer feedback into the way they currently do their jobs.
  • Provide incentives for taking action on customer results. People are compensated for meeting objectives in their jobs now; the ideal is to build in incentives for effectively launching and executing ways to improve customer experience.
  • Ask each group exactly how they need to be equipped. To have the desired impact on customer loyalty, account teams need help from support functions, and support functions will seek funding to launch their own enhancements. It helps to escalate these needs and requests for equipping sooner than later, as part of the process.

In conclusion, the course of taking action for customers hinges not so much on the willingness of employees to act, but on their ability to do so.


About the Author

Jeff Marr

Jeff Marr

Marr provides thought leadership to Walker and the customer strategy profession. In keeping with the newest proven approaches, Marr designs services used in client engagements. This includes facilitating customer-driven action by clients at the corporate, functional and account team levels, and creating new measurement solutions. Formal approaches Jeff helped create and launch include value mapping, account engagement, strategic assessment, won/lost bid assessment, and assessing lost/diminished customers.

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