Tag Archives: engaging customers

Increasing Customer Satisfaction

customer satisfaction

There are a variety of approaches to hearing the Voice of the Customer and using the information we gather to, hopefully, increase customer satisfaction.

While simply gathering this data guarantees nothing, it’s vitally important because we can know all there is to know about our internal processes and still not know enough about them to increase client satisfaction.

For this sort of challenge we need additional tools and methods, a few of which include:

Customer Surveys are a staple for measuring and possibly surfacing areas for improvement. A popular tool for measuring customer satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which typically takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10. “Promoters” are defined as those giving a 9 or 10 answer, and “Detractors” are those giving an answer of 6 or below. The NPS score is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Studying variation in the NPS by area, customer type, and over time can help pinpoint trouble spots that are impacting customer satisfaction.

Analyzing customer Complaint Logs can help identify and address the problems that customers have identified and shared, but this is a bare minimum in the effort to increase customer satisfaction. The Complaint Log is a place to seek information about where we are falling short on what is often called “Must-Be Quality.”

The absence of the quality dissatisfies even though the presence in itself will not please the customers because it is assumed. Addressing gaps in the Must-Be Quality can lift one out of the hole, but will never lift customer satisfaction any further. To effectively increase customer satisfaction, we need to create and deliver work that will delight the customers.

One client described his method as the Ambassador Visit: “I go to meet with the customer, I say thank you for your business, and then I shut up. And listen.” Providing a good forum and opportunity for the customer to express what they like and don’t like is very useful.

What’s more, the Ambassador Visit provides a forum to discuss what the customers see coming down the road, so we can proactively anticipate and address their needs.

Another client finds tremendous value in visiting clients as they work with the product — meeting them in the field to watch, listen, and study the customer’s challenges and how the product currently helps them — and how it could help them if something were to be changed. This approach, sometimes called Contextual Inquiry, provides value in understanding what is truly working as expected for the customers and how we can solve problems for the customers that they did not even think to mention.

Whichever method one might use, the key is to keep communication flowing and to be proactive in continually improving processes and measuring the degree to which customers are delighted!

An Engaged Workforce: It’s Not About What They Get!

The topics of “enterprise engagement” and “employee engagement” continue to be front-and-center in many business circles, with senior managers continually looking for better ways to:

  • engagement4Improve the customer experience
  • Increase workforce productivity
  • Reduce “turnover” among both groups

As many have found, these three objectives are intertwined; and a consistently emerging principle indicates it is not possible to achieve one without the other, over time.

Consider a few facts…

First, the findings of numerous studies repeatedly indicate that employee engagement goes beyond simply being “happy” and a happy workforce is not necessarily a more productive workforce.

Similarly, loyal customers are more than simply happy customers. They are engaged; they trust and respect the suppliers to whom they are loyal, just as engaged employees trust and respect their employers. Stated a different way, and as published in a 2011 BlessingWhite report, “Engaged employees stay for what they give;  the disengaged stay for what they get.”

Engaged customers enjoy patronizing and are loyal to an organization that provides value, and engaged employees enjoy working in and remain loyal to an organization that is value-added – an organization that is successful and an organization in which they themselves feel successful; an organization in which they feel valued.

Engaged customers willingly spread a positive word-of-mouth story; and engaged employees make a consistently strong discretionary effort to refer others as potential candidates for employment and to refer others as potential customers.

As the “ripple effect” of engaging employees, increasing productivity, and reducing turnover spills-over into engaging customers, it’s important for senior managers to not only recognize this relationship, but to also proactively promote it by developing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement in which the workforce is a vital component of success; a culture in which employees have a stake and a say in improving both the work  and the workplace.


Customer Engagement Dilemma?

Who will lead the way...?A thought-provoking article in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine suggests that organizations of all types will sooner-or-later realize the need for a senior executive who focuses on the customer experience.

As author Bruce Bolger explains, engaged customers “buy more… are often less sensitive to price… and regularly become advocates.”

However, the article goes on to share an ideal job description and poses an interesting question: “Where will we find qualified candidates for such a position?”

What are your thoughts?


Engaging Customers on Social Media

A number of recent posts have focused on enterprise engagement, which involves engaging our workforce as well as our customers, channel partners, suppliers and the community.

In a recent focus group discussion, a number of participants indicated that their organizations did not have a formal process for engaging customers beyond standard sales and customer service protocols.

With this in mind, a recent post on The Gallup Blog shares some good fundamentals for using social media for this purpose – but beware! To be effective, we must go beyond “pushing product.”

“When companies focus their social media efforts on pushing product and not cultivating communities, they overlook the real potential of these channels,” the article states.

The piece goes on to explain that to positively influence purchasing decisions through social media, marketers should learn to use it to listen and interact. Consumers are more likely to engage when the brand-related posts they encounter are:

    • Authentic. Social media sites are highly personal and conversational. And, as Gallup finds, consumers who use these sites don’t want to hear a sales pitch. They’re more likely to listen and respond to companies that seem genuine and personable. Companies should back away from the hard sell and focus on creating more of an open dialogue with consumers
    • Responsive. The social media world is 24/7, and consumers expect timely responses – even on nights and weekends. Companies must be available to answer questions and reply to complaints and criticisms; ignoring negative feedback can do considerable damage to a brand’s reputation. Instead, companies must actively listen to what their customers are saying and respond accordingly. If they made mistakes, they must own up to them and take responsibility
    • Compelling. Content is everywhere, and consumers have the ability to pick and choose what they like. Companies must create compelling, interesting content that appeals to busy, picky social media users. This content should be original to the company and not related to sales or marketing. Consumers need a reason to visit and interact with a company’s social media site and to keep coming back.