It's a simple fact that the more you know about your customers and what they need from you, the better you can provide for them. Giving them better service is the best way of improving customer loyalty – ultimately giving a more beneficial relationship and making your customers advocates for your business.
So, how do you gain insight from your customers. That’s easy isn’t it?
You set up a customer satisfaction survey. Simple to do and it will give you the information about how the customer feels at a particular point in time about their most recent transaction with you.
Or you could make it really simple and ask your customer just one question; “Would you recommend us?” This will give you a good measure of how many ‘promoters’ and ‘detractors’ you have. A good way to rapidly see the effects of changes you make to customer procedures.
However, the plethora of information produced by the many customer satisfaction surveys we are all subject to can be a victim of its own success. The frequency of email surveys received can drive down response rates and ultimately the quality of data gathered.
As more surveys are generated, analysis of the large amounts of data received becomes more challenging. Arguably some nuggets might be missed. People in general, including your customers, are weary, or even suspicious of too much research activity.
What if your customers are large companies? Who do you direct a survey to? Who do you ask to recommend you? Are they even the right people to ask?
With many people to deal with, you may well find that the key influencers in your customers are not those with whom your account management team deals with on a day-to-day basis. Your account managers may be highly effective at managing your client but the real influence often lies elsewhere.
Approaching your customers for a face-to-face review can reveal a great deal.
If you have B2B customers, a review is an invaluable source of customer insight. Peer-to-peer meetings with a structured format will yield insights such as the customer’s future plans. Are you involved? Could you be involved? New sales opportunities are frequently identified during such reviews.
You can learn about your status in the eyes of your customer - are you merely a value added supplier or does your customer see you as a solutions provider? Is there any mutual benefit in moving further up the ‘Customer Loyalty Staircase' to become a Trusted Advisor? What steps should you take to achieve this?
Most importantly, is this customer in for the long haul with you? Are there any risks in the relationship? How can these be addressed? Reviews provide our clients with a wealth of information, even giving insights into competitors, and fundamentally creating an understanding of their customer’s confidence in their ability to provide them with what they need, now and in the future.
By gathering the insights to better understand your customers, you can learn how to make them loyal advocates of your business. It’s a way to reduce risk. If you aren’t doing it, your competitors may be.