Tuesday, July 30, 2013

After collecting your customers' feedback, you need to turn it into useful results in order to answer your marketing, product, PR and sales related concerns. Before generating any report, you need to decide on its frequency. Reports can be generated on a continuous basis or periodically (i.e., snap-shots). An apparel retail company, whose customers' shopping experience last less than an hour will need more frequent reports than a software company that provides service and solutions to its clients. Next you need to decide what types of reports you need. The reports must answer your issues, need to be tailored to your needs, and most importantly enable you to take actions. Based on our experience some of the commonly topics are: 1- Customer Service: What is your customer's experience in regard to your service delivery? Here you need to report all the touch points between your customer, your service delivery as well as your service delivery team. This may include respect/greeting,knowledge, skills, reliability, quality, communication, and environment; 2- Product Offerings: Is the customer/client aware of your service/product offerings? Do your customers know all of your service/product offerings? 3- Price & Value: What is their opinion about your price strategy? Do they believe that they are receiving good value for the price they pay? 4- Competition: What is their evaluation/awareness of your competitors and why they picked you? Are they aware of your competitors, and what are their primary reasons for choosing you? 5- Return & Recommend: Are they coming back to do more business with you,and why? Do you have loyal or just satisfied customers? And who are your at-risk customers? These are only the basic and starting reports for your customer experience program. Your voice of customer must enable you to generate many other useful reports for all your departments as on as needed basis.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Customer Experience Program -- Survey Design

How important is it to provide an incentive to customers who will be participating in your survey? Deciding on whether to offer and what type of incentive to give depends on the type of industry, your survey invitation, and your survey design. Some industries don't need to offer any incentive at all. Due to the nature of their survey (e.g. health care, public service) customers have enough motivation to participate. And a well designed survey invitation and questionnaire will naturally motivate customers. If you decide to offer incentive, you will not only increase your response but will also increase repeat business (bounce backs) as well as stimulate trial of selected categories. Our observations indicate that use of correct incentive will capture feedback from the largest possible category of all customers, will bring in meaningful repeat business and increase the bottom line, and will positively impact quality and amount of feedback. There are a variety of incentives to use. Their impact on survey responses will be different. Sweepstakes incentives are least effective in generating responses from customers. They work in certain situations, but responses will come from a very specific audience. "Percent off incentives work very well. The offer can exclude purchase of certain items, and specify a minimum "dollar" on the purchase amount. Free offers are also effective, and work very well for certain industries. Your customer experience program will work better with an incentive. In combination with a well designed survey invitation and questionnaire, incentive offering will motivate customers to participate,will bring in repeat business, will provide you with a better quality customer feedback, and will increase your bottom line. Michael

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Customer Survey & Analysis -- Common Problems

Based on our experience, we have noticed several common problems as companies carry out their customer surveys. These include showing the value of these surveys to the company and departments before starting the survey, coordinating different surveys within the company, getting low participation rates during the survey from respondents and quantifying the value of recommendations before implementations.

In general, professionally constructed surveys require coordination among several departments. All involved participants need to understand, internalize the process and be very clear on how the survey can benefit their department. We need to show the value of the survey to each group before starting the work. We have systematic steps in place to show, in dollar terms, the value of the survey to the company.

Unfortunately, many companies launch a variety of survey programs from different departments. Each may use their own structure, style and scale. This mixture of approach could miss important issues from the view point of both customers and employees. Therefore the results are scattered all over the company and fosters a lack of focused approach. We have a systematic approach in place to design one composite survey to cover all departmental needs. Each section of the survey could be used as a stand-alone, or in combination with other sections for collecting customer and employee feedback. Results provide comprehensive recommendations for the company.

There are many reasons to have low response rates from surveys. Some of the issues that we look at are the questionnaire designed correctly? Is it being sent to the appropriate respondent? Do we have proper introduction and follow-up procedures in place? In a recent work, we redesigned our client’s questionnaire, reviewed and refined the respondent’s database, and implemented our introduction and follow up procedures. The response rate for our online global survey improved from 8 percent to over 40 percent.

And how confident are you about your survey recommendations? We’ve noticed that many clients like to measure the value of survey results before taking any actions. We have developed and implemented quantitative methods to show the benefits and cost of the results, before any implementations. This will allow the company to allocate the optimum budget for implementation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Presenting at Marketing Survey & Customer Feedback group

I'm presenting at our second gathering of Marketing Survey & Customer Feedback group on Tuesday 2/23. I'll discuss the first and second stages of developing customer feedback systems.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I am starting the Bay Area Marketing Survey & Customer Feedback group. The purpose of this educational group is to help business owners, entrepreneurs, marketing, product management, sales, advertising/PR professionals who have the challenge of learning more about their customers.

Our kick off meeting is on February 2nd. For additional information and to attend please visit: www.meetup.com/customer-survey-feedback-BayArea

According to CMO Council research (www.cmocouncil.org) “only 10.7 percent of companies have deployed real-time systems to collect, analyze and distribute customer feedback. While 75 percent say they receive customer feedback via e-mail, only 23 percent say they track and measure the volume and nature of these messages”. In addition the CMO Council advocates that “CMOs take a leadership role in benchmarking and transforming the levels of market and customer centricity and responsiveness throughout their organizations”.

Unfortunately the companies who have developed customer feedback system or track and measure their customer responses are facing several challenges. Our studies indicate that low response rate and participation from customers as a major challenge during customer feedback process. It is not unusual to receive single digits response rates from your customers for US and global surveys.
And without enough number of participants, any meaningful analysis and recommendations will be useless. Another issue, for the companies who have or have not developed customer feedback system, is how to measure the value of recommendations from their customer feedback system, before implementing them? Our experience indicates that many companies are not confident that the recommendations from analysis of customer feedback will benefit them. For example, if customers are requesting additional support, should it be provided or not? How do we measure the value of providing this additional support for the company? And a major challenge for the CMO’s who would like to take leadership role in transforming the customer responsiveness and centricity throughout their company is to provide, the CEO, product, sales and advertising/PR departments, the benefit of the customer feedback system before starting one.

At MAHAK (www.mahakinc.com) we have provided, in dollar value, the benefits of such a system that is shared with our clients before developing and deploying their customer feedback system. In addition, we have methods and procedures in place to ensure high participation and response rates from customers, and have quantitative techniques in place to provide the benefits (in dollar value) of recommendations before full implementations.

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, has an excellent commentary and video on the value of customer feedback at Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac50/ac208/about_cisco_approach_to_quality_customer_sat_survey.html

Unfortunately for most ambitious CEOs, a customer satisfaction survey is not enough. A complete customer feedback system needs to provide you with more information. A well designed customer satisfaction survey, as Cisco is conducting, will help you with setting priorities for the organization, resolve trade-off decisions, productivity and efficiency programs, and hiring and resource allocation. In addition, it generates scores for identified topics and departments, measures loyalty and satisfaction and identifies at risk customers. I like John's comment which is to tie corporate bonuses to survey results.

The additional topics, to be included in the customer satisfaction survey or to be conducted as a separate survey are:

•Determine your industry trend and customers' overall opinion;
•Understand the reasons why they bought your products and services;
•Identify their "hot buttons" for your PR and advertising campaigns;
•Justifying/modifying your future platform/product focus;
•Understand customer's service requirements to shape your potential service addition;
•Determine feature gaps as an opportunity for new product introductions;
•Create a template for your sales team to better target the right prospects that meet the profile
of your existing customers to shorten your sales cycles; and
•Focus your budget to assure you're going after the right prospects to meet your revenue goals.

You not only want to use your customer feedback system as a customer satisfaction tool, but to help your marketing, product management, sales and public relations departments to align their activities and to answer their dilemmas.