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Posts Tagged ‘customer satisfaction’

Customer satisfaction can be determined in any number of ways, from personal visits and other direct encounters with customers to surveys and data analytics.  Two key metrics include overall customer satisfaction rating, and a tactic used by many companies today called the net promoter score.  It measures strength of loyalty and a willingness to recommend you.

Net promoters scores are typically built on the offering of a single question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [our company, our product, our service] to a friend or colleague?”

Based on this simple 11 point scale, scores are divided into detractors (those giving a score of 6 or less); Passives, who score you at 7 or 8; or net Promoters, who answered with a 9 or 10.

The detractors have the potential for further reputational damage, and when recognized provide an important opportunity to learn more, understand, correct a problem (and thus ‘save’ a customer) or engage them in meaningful dialogue aimed at solving the problem and improving your score.

The passives are somewhat satisfied, but are vulnerable to switching to another provider or product.  They’re not likely to say anything bad about your product or firm, but they’re also not enthusiastic enough about your products (or you) to actively promote either.

Promoters, those who scored a 9 or 10, are your sweet spot.  They love your company’s products, services or people, and will often recommend them enthusiastically to others.  They’re worth their weight in gold, of course.

In addition to ‘top-level’ metrics that you can find inside your ERP system, you can consider determining metrics for each stage of a customer’s journey throughout your life with them.  Metrics that include sales trends, buying history, preferences, results of cust-sat surveys and overall breadth of product support for your products and services can be combined and investigated at various timelines along the way, at least for a random sampling of clients.  Just as an investigative exercise alone, the results can be enlightening, and most every client is capable of surprising us (for better and for worse) with their responses, once engaged.

It takes a bit of courage sometimes to work up to asking the net promoter question, or to survey your customers on their more specific levels of trust and satisfaction.  But the knowledge gained and insights provided actually make it easier for you to improve your offerings and increase customer retention almost immediately.  Viewed in that light, why wouldn’t  you do it?

 

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Hard to believe but… recent research indicates that when customers post a negative review or lodge a complaint, they only get a response about 35% of the time!

This, according to research by the firms Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, as recently report in the April, 2012 issue of CRM Magazine.

“Companies are asking their customer to do something for them and then not doing even the basics to express their appreciation or thanks or to let them know that their feedback was heard,” noted a senior analyst at one of the firms.

Turns out, when a response is given, 39% were satisfied, 35% indifferent and 26% were dissatisfied.

Deeper research by the firms revealed that slightly over 1 in 4 customers complete a customer satisfaction survey.  Of those, about 80% say they complete surveys somewhat frequently, or frequently (all told, from 3 to over a dozen times).  They do so because customers feel “it’s part of their job as a customer.”  57% said they did so to give feedback to help improve the company.  They expect a response.

And yet, almost two-thirds go unanswered.  That’s a real missed opportunity.

Customer satisfaction research “is about the opportunity to engage and often recover your customers after a bad experience,” notes Chadwick analyst Jeff McKenna.  Most companies asking customers about a recent experience don’t even take advantage of the opportunity to turn a service failure around.

The research indicates two basic reasons: one has to do with companies working with old, outdated CRM systems; the other is fear – the fear that customers will take advantage of them.  So apparently, rather than working toward helping the majority of honest people, companies let fear of the few impede their customer service responsiveness.

The good news in the research is that 57% of customers complete surveys to share a good experience, versus 35% who do so to register a complaint.

In the last analysis, while the problem should dictate the kind of response, everyone should get a response, even if it’s just acknowledgment of the customer comment, or an affirmation that we heard you and we’ll look into it.

This, apparently, is a conclusion that has gone largely unnoticed among too many companies.

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In a recent article in the February issue of CRM Magazine by the above title, author Lior Arussy makes a great point via a story, that I’ll briefly paraphrase below.

Guy has a ticket for a flight but at the airport ahead of time, he asks to change it to an earlier flight, so he can catch his daughter’s basketball game back home that night as he’d promised her he would.

He’s filled with trepidation, fear of The Big No, problem attitudes and all the rest of the anxiety you might fear in the same situation.  He really wanted to be at that game to put that smile on his daughter’s face.

A few clicks and calls later, the agent was able to swap his ticket and secure him the last available seat on that flight.  He made his daughter’s game.  Mission accomplished.

It’s a true story, Arussy points out.  But his greater point is this: “It’s the story of why companies too often fail to grasp the whole concept of the customer experience.”

When employees simply operate the process, or fulfill the customer transaction and the company is “merely the sum total of the transactions it completes,” the view of the customer gets lost.  Thus, what you sell is not what they buy.  In our story above, selling the ticket wasn’t the issue.  The customer experience was one of gratitude and appreciation, no doubt.  Think he’ll fly that airline again?

We all need to become more customer-centric, and appreciate how our product or service influences, or even changes, our customers’ lives.  Where do we fit?  What dreams do we fulfill?  What are the consequences of failing to satisfy the customer?  What impact will an exceptional experience have on the customer?

In our field, it’s a tough business.  Expectations are oh-so-high, while capability to deliver is oh-so-complex, and often low.  Still, it’s pretty hard to position “We Rarely Let Our Customers Down” as your competitive advantage. 

It comes down to this.  You have to really be able to look at your customers, look at their expectations, and open yourself to creating interpretations of what it means to satisfy that customer.  It’s an individualized experience. 

And in my experience, it has to come as much from the hearts of your company’s people as it does their heads.

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