How to Retain Customers – Listening to the Voice of the Customer
Usually at some point during dealing with clients the question of how to retain and gain new customers comes up. A good starting place is to listen to what the customers have to say. There are several ways to get their feedback from doing surveys, to involving them in your strategy sessions. In other blogs I’ve talked about ways to use things techniques like Appreciative Inquiry and how you can include your customers into the discussion of your companies future. Another approach that works very well is to survey the customers. We’ll dive deep into the survey and how you can use it.
1) On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the most likely) how likely are you to recommend XYZ company to a friend or colleague.
2) Why would you rate XYZ company that way
3) What is the strength of XYZ company and why did you pick them?
4) What are some of the things XYZ company can do better?
How Listening to the Customer can Help Retain Customers
The first question is very telling. If they rate you as a 9 or 10 then they are going to actively be fans of your company. A 6,7, or 8 means they are fairly neutral. Below a 6 and chances are they are actively talking bad about you in some way. Word of mouth reputation matters to your business. The rest of the questions are follow ups to try to get to the root cause of success or failure. You will probably want to go deeper into each question on a customer by customer basis.
Before we started a strategy session with client we did a survey with 8 of their existing clients. Ideally we would like to do 30+ but 8 was all we could get access to and is enough to start getting some good information. During the survey we found that 4 people rated the company either a 9 or 10 and 4 rated them between 6-8. The results were anonymous and this came as a surprise to the leadership team. They thought they were going to score much worse. What we found was that the strength of the company was in building the relationships with the clients and getting to understand their needs. Their weaknesses included a lack of follow through and communication. Given this information the team did some interesting things with their strategy. Of course they decided to revamp part of their team and process to enable better communication. The interesting thing was that they actually started to institute a relationship building learning program into their company. They realized that this would be a critical competitive advantage to keep and attract customers. Just by asking some simple questions they were able to get great insight on what is so special about their company and how to use that to their advantage. What do you think your customers would rate you?
Our conference call topic next week will cover the voice of the customer so please sign up for the call-in number and reminder.
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