Amplifying the Voices of Your Customers:
Launching Customer Intimacy and
High Levels of Satisfaction
By: Mark Hordes
Mark Hordes Management Consultants, LLC
713 416 1781 office
My experience indicates that most of the company take one of two approaches when gathering feedback from customers and clients and achieving intimacy:
Approach One: Who Cares!
This most-common approach is based upon the premises that "we already know what our customers and clients want," and "we don't have the time (or budget) to waste on research."
This "we know best" approach is cost driven and fast, but predictable—customer and client needs are not really addressed, chances for differentiation are missed, internal resources are misdirected, and new potential offerings of higher profit and revenue are left for someone else to capture.
No wonder many customers and clients leave you and go elsewhere without every telling you why they left!
Approach Two: Launch the Largest Assessment Ever Conducted in the World!
At the other end of the spectrum is the “boil the ocean approach” (examine everything); hundreds of surveys, heavy on financial models, and with reams of quantitative analysis--all aspects of "the market" are studied until data overload sets in. Or, pay millions of dollars to a strategy and market research consulting firm.
These "massive studies" end up in some ones archived database never to be seen or shared ever again!
However, there is another, much more practical approach (Voice of the Customer Assessments) based upon some fundamental feedback principles vital to keeping in touch with customers and knowing if you are meeting their needs.
There are 5 things you need to do to make
sure you get it right:
1. Focus. Segment your highest paying clients and customers. Forget trying to get feedback from everyone, select a dozen of your best customers and clients (best relationships, best communications and best potential for future business.
2. Collaborate. Identify one or two people in your customers organization to help you define the questions that they think are important to them.
It may describe timeliness, responsiveness, relationships, need for new services, dislike for current services and other ways to create a more intimate relationship where you become a “trusted advisor” for their long-term business needs.
3. Dialogue. You are not making a sales call! Hold a one-on-one, face-to-face, open discussions and focus groups, following well-thought-out questions.
Completed in an hours’ time you can quickly learn about challenges, needs for the future, areas for improvement and ways you become more of a partner, not a vendor in the process of working together.
4. Prioritize. Once you have collected feedback, “their voices” of your most critical accounts, you can begin a process of perhaps rethinking your entire customer relationship model to be most effective.
5. Launch a New Product and Group of Services. Within 30 days of your dialogues, go back and tell your key accounts what you heard, and what you plan on doing.
Customers will always appreciate your follow-up and be very interested in what you've come up with.
And in many situations, they will offer to be the first place you can sell and deliver your new services or product offerings.
A fresh start to building a long-term intimate, satisfying customer relationship!