How well do you really know your customers? This may help.
Gathering information about your customers allows you to identify their satisfaction with your services and the likelihood that they would recommend you. But you can be much smarter by understanding how your company fits into your customers' future plans and what level of confidence your customers have in you to deliver against their expectations.
Knowing their direction; understanding their needs for change and developments to products; tracking their problems and the resolution of these is vital information to find out. How to capture and disseminate this information is crucial to sound customer understanding and developing customer loyalty.
Developing an excellent relationship with your customers and enjoying strong levels of customer loyalty means you can use them as a sounding board for new product and service developments or to test innovations. Doing this in the right way can only enhance customer loyalty and improve customer retention. This may be the difference between keeping or losing them when a competitor comes knocking at the door.
Key touchpoints to gather customer insight
1. On signing the contract. All good, warm feelings here. Time for sales to hand over to account management. Face-to-face or telephone contact here is appropriate for introductions and to set expectations. Setting up the expectations for an annual review – either face-to-face or via a survey - would be a good idea here. We all know how quickly a year goes by. Even getting the appointment in the diary would be a good plan now.
2. Onboarding. When the client is setting up systems, installing new software or taking delivery of a machine/item is a good time to identify the common problems. Address these through online help or a phone call and keep the customer informed through phone contact and meetings. This will pay dividends in the future.
3. When there is a problem/service failure. This can actually work in your favour…
4. Annual survey / review. No matter what the size of your customer, getting into the habit of an annual review is a worthwhile exercise. Questions can relate to performance over the previous year but it’s more important to gather an idea of your clients' future plans (here's more about face-to-face reviews)
5. Customer focus groups. For new product or service developments, warm customers can act as a sounding board for testing of the product
6. Customer leaving you. Exit interview should provide you with indications for the reasons for this and will give you pointers to better customer retention
If you would like to find out more and get a benchmark for your customer engagement you can take our assessment and get feedback about the level of the maturity of your company.