up with an article on “customer feedback management”, so here it is!
The fundamental question; whether or not your product/services has it, gets answered fairly and squarely in the first few rounds of customer acquisitions. Is your product needed, have you priced it right etc are questions that get thrashed more often than not very thoroughly, given the fact that most mid to small sized organisations work on capital that they raise or invest in the hope of securing rounds of financial assistance in the future and therefore it is taken fairly seriously. As you become an organisation which is more than a handful of people who you may have handpicked when you started off, it becomes highly important that you lay down processes to structure deliveries, build controls and measure performances of each of the processes to not only identify errors but also make the delivery water tight, weeding out inefficiencies making the process as automated as possible. Basically trying to be future ready!
It’ll be truly wonderful to build a system so neat that it packs every possibility in it and handles every exception well and without a human intervention- Sadly for now, it remains a dream .. perhaps 50 yrs from now with AI gaining grounds, we may get an inch or two closer to that dream. At this point I must be sounding ridiculous to you, let me give you some facts, you’d then get the perspective right.
Google – Employees more than 3K people here in India to read and categorise content on youtube alone.
Facebook – Has more than 5K people pitching & managing ads to traders.
Microsoft – Employee more than 4K people to neatly tag search results on bing.
There is a reason why smart algorithms are not so smart just as yet! ( They come at a cost .. which you may not be able to afford given other priorities that you’d like to cater to, first)
That being the case, thing about building a sustainable and scalable bussiness as far as making efforts to retain the customer with you goes, it revolves around, these key things, Identify a problem .. establish a cause .. take corrective and preventive actions .. loop it back with customers.
In theory, it looks as insanely simple as cracking a joke or two about Rahul Gandhi or simply getting scared when our PM holds the mic at 8 PM and starts with Mitro!! Real execution can be strangely complex in ways more than one. Reasons range from out of control levers to inability of reading situations or sheerly lacking experience in correcting things as swiftly as needed, sometime you may not have required cash to correct too.
Where does that then lead the organisation? It starts with rising unpopularity and then ends at minuscule customer repeat buying numbers- that, for all practical purposes, is the end of the food chain. When the rate of customer churn begins to become comparable to customer acquisition pace you should know it’s time to ACT else even before you realise the number will keep growing like an elephant’s baby .. couple of hundred kilos in less than a few months.
What is it that you should do then? Well, simply put you gotta put your customers at the very centre of your decision making – another simple sounding philosophy but one hell of a thing to achieve in reality. Even brand like Apple and Google sweat at it more often than not, don’t believe me .. go find a 3.5mm headphone jack either on iPhoneX or Pixel2? Hope you understand what I’m trying to push here? Even if you do not understand — it is ok, that is why I’m writing this one for you 😉 ( Sorry for being cheesy .. but it is ok being one, once in a while)
Here is the thing .. you willingly spend 10% to 15% of your overall expenditure on marketing ( Ok, this number is not sacrosanct .. different companies.. different product and different cash reserves may cause different spend levels but I have seen this number being in close proximity of that range that I’ve spoken about and therefore myopically choosing it to make a case.) What are the prime objectives? Gaining attention, capturing mind-space of the buyers, building a brand, educating customers on the products and its offerings. And of course, all of this is done to win customers – and it helps!
A new customer may get swayed by your swanky ads & outlandish offers . But if you think they will also stay back, just for that – you gotta be kidding! What keeps a customer going on your network is only and only the sum of utility of your product/services and the experiences, nothing else and nothing more.
In “experience” alone lies the key of repeat. You gotta continue doing what is liked by your customer, stop whatever bugs or troubles them and start whatever they may expect you to. But the questions is where do you get the intel from? Can there be such a data source? If yes, what is it that can be done to exploit it?
Well, two top things come to my mind when I ponder over it.
1 Customer satisfaction survey intel.
2 Customer complaint info.
There is enough and more reports available to believe that for every one complaint that you get there are 25 poor customer experiences worthy of becoming customer complaint but because people see no value in taking the pain of reporting , they silently move away from the brand – yeah, that is your churn number.
The other source customer satisfaction survey, for every 100 surveys that you’ll throw you’d get anything between 9 to 12% response if it is on email and up to 32% to 47% if it happens to be a hand off between a human interaction and a survey tool, let’s say an IVR.
On this write up, I wish to explore ways and means for you to make the most of your satisfaction surveys .. so you can derive marketing insights from it, sound enough to make you retain customers and because in the whole process you also elevate the quality of your products it also means substantial boost to your acquisition efforts.
Customer satisfaction drive is more than asking a few questions, mind you!!
Here are some things that you may wanna do right at the stage of institutionalising your survey process.
Co–Createthecontentofyoursurvey – The business, you, and your customers should not have a hard time understanding the question. Simplicity is the key, here. Limit it to as few as possible.
Onetooneinvitationworks – Let the address NOT be generic. You know the profile of your customer, use that information. Make it appear personalised. Your order data or CRM can be intelligently integrated with survey system – spend here.
Progressannotationisimp – If you ask your customer 5 questions, while on the 2nd he should know that he has 3 more to answer and it would take let’s say 4 more secs. Informed customer stays for longer, my experience says.
Explaintheintent – Be wise in telling your customer why would you want him to invest those 10 secs in you .. what is in it for him should be stated. If your budget is healthy, give him some useable credit.
Buildrelationonnegativesentiment – Make provisions for instances when you hear an unhappy news from the customer, make him your best friend – resolve his issue at a lightening fast speed. You can actually win the customer.
And once you’ve formulated the whole design, here is what you gotta do to make your organisation take a note of the findings. All from the book
This lets the organisation prioritise current threats, to customer retention, positive referrals, and opportunities for improvement, in terms of their potential influence on the financial and strategic outcomes to their business.
This, combined with improved customer response, increases the number of dissatisfied customers your organisation can turn into satisfied customers, reduces your potential negative reputation and increases the amount of data available for preventive analysis.
A systematic approach to satisfaction tracking provides the organisation with an effective ongoing management tool to support the management of critical customer experiences.
If you’ve done these right – you’re headed on the right path. Well if not, check your customer (buying) repeat % .. it will shout out for help and perhaps then you’d realise the importance of qualified customer service.