The last post, The Effects of Losing Customer Connection - Part 1, looked at the impact losing connection with your customers can have on your business. This post will present a few simple ways SMBs can begin to collect and assess customer feedback.
Before you can begin developing a process for collecting customer feedback, start by listing all of your customer touch points. It’s really important to list all of the customer touch points that exist in your company’s supply chain – from a prospect’s first phone call to follow-up support and maintenance – there are many interactions and therefore, many opportunities to ensure you are building, nurturing and sustaining strong relationships with your customers.
Once you have identified all of the customer touch points, review each one and assess which touch points are most critical for developing solid customer relationships and for gathering feedback. The sooner you can gather feedback, particularly, if a client is dissatisfied, the sooner you can take action and get the relationship back on a positive track.
1) Client Check-ins – For some businesses where the product/service delivery takes places 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, 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 has 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.
The key to successful customer relationships is listening. By implementing a few of the above suggestions, 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.