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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on February 11, 2014

Do you have a standardized client feedback process in place? Do you have regular touchpoints to ensure your company is providing superior service? Marketing Director Tania Stadnik has great insight into 4 methods of developing – and sustaining – excellent customer relationships.

customer relationshipsIt’s important to ensure you are building, nurturing and sustaining strong relationships with your customer base. Before you begin developing a process for collecting customer feedback, start by listing all of your customer touchpoints. There are many interactions that exist in your company's supply chain, and by listing those customer touchpoints, you will have identified many opportunities to solidify customer relationships.

Once you have identified those touchpoints, review each one and assess which are most critical for developing solid customer relationships and gathering feedback. The sooner you can gather feedback, particularly, if a client is dissatisfied, the sooner you can take action and get the relationship on a positive track.

1) Client Check-ins – For some businesses where the product/service delivery takes place over several months or even years, it’s critical to develop a system for checking-in with clients. This should take the form of both a call and in-person meetings. The goal with these check-ins is to ensure the client’s needs are being met, that any staff assigned to the client are performing and delivering to expectation, and to discuss any changes in needs or recalibration of service.

2) End of Engagement Survey – Following the completion of your service or delivery of a product, send your client a survey. The depth and survey mechanism (call/email/online) will vary depending on your business. The survey should consist of both close-ended and open-ended questions in order to provide your client with an opportunity to share specific feedback.

3) Results Survey – Depending on your product/service offering, it may be valuable to conduct a survey that measures the results your clients have experienced since the completion of your work. Whether your work is consulting or a product installation, gaining feedback after a year or two can be powerful – for example, if it’s a product installation, has the client experienced any problems? If so, what? Has it performed better than expected?

4) Service/Support Feedback – For businesses that provide follow-on services or support, collecting feedback from customers who have had to use your support services can shed light on support staff, the support process and insight into product design issues that may have to be addressed in the next generation.

Listening is the key to successful customer relationships and by implementing a few of these techniques, you can build a successful platform for ensuring your customers are being heard. Every business will encounter issues from time to time; by having thoughtful and relevant customer feedback processes, you can manage and respond to customer issues in a more timely and professional manner.

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