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Step 2: Use it by closing the loop with customers

After you connect your customer listening program to the business strategy, you have to use your voice of the customer program to drive business results.

The only way to do this is to close the loop with customers and take action based on their feedback.

At the 2010 Walker Fall Forum, we asked customer strategists from some of the world’s most customer centric companies for their advice on closing the loop with customers.

Here is what they came up with:

  • Get executive buy-in. Well, actually they suggest you get executive ownership. To create executive ownership, focus on the positive outcomes, such as anticipated ROI,  increased customer loyalty, higher customer response rates, etc.
  • Create a process that is simple and establish guidelines that are clear and understood. Make certain individuals know who is responsible for what. Simplify the process by integrating it into the systems and tools that are already being used. 
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – you must deliver the same message to the same audience multiple times before it will be fully embraced and understood.
  • Anticipate the skeptic. Change is difficult. The skeptic will make his voice heard. Anticipate the following type of responses, "I know my customer and what they need," "I am too busy," and "The ROI is not clear."
  • Allow for flexibility in the process. While the process needs to be clearly defined, it doesn’t need to be too rigid. The follow-up process should evolve to support your changing business.
  • Celebrate the successes. It is inevitable that you will hear positive remarks from customers after implementing this process. Share these comments and recognize the teams that are embracing the follow-up program. Use your executive owner to help with this activity.

There you have it. Some ideas that can help you follow-up with customers to create customer value and drive business results.

Your turn. What’s missing? Any other advice based on your experience?

Photo credit: familymwr

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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