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Are you listening to the Voice of  Your Customer?

Ironically, many companies no longer prioritize

listening to customers.

My recent experience, over the past five years, leads me to conclude the prime reason listening to customers does not happen is lack of resources. But that is misleading.  It is really a lack of budget.

Which means a senior manager (or a committee thereof), somewhere in the company, does not think customer listening is important and did not allocate enough (if any) budget.

 

But even “lack of budget” is misleading because the real reason companies do not have a “listening to the customer” program is because they do not know how to create one. Why do I think this is true?

    1. There are a few, if any, internal resources, either people or tools, to create the program.

    2. There are no business partners who can create such a program.

    3. They have experienced a succession of customer surveys with poor results — or, more specifically, surveys that did not yield the expected results.

The first thing to understand: surveys take many forms. 

There is really no cookie cutter.   Surveys can be implemented in many ways.  Survey content and format can be deployed in ways that generate satisfactory levels of response.

If a past survey, even a succession of them, failed, it’s not the survey’s fault.  Rather the fault lies either with the survey content manager, the survey producer, or both.

The second thing to understand: surveys are not the only tool for listening to the customer.

There are a number of ways to listen to customers.  Surveys are maybe the most familiar, but they are faf from the only way.

Here is just one well known example: Customer Comment Systems (CCS).  They are accessed online or by phone.  They provide clear, concise, and unambiguous ways for customers to say what is on their mind. They are moderately expense, but they have a fifty-year track record of success.

The downside: they require monitoring (which can be done with AI) and periodic maintenance and updates.

I have clients who are in love with their CCS because they get to listen and hear not only the customers’ actual comment, but in their own voice, which is lost in an AI transcription.

Many companies use Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) to not only get feedback, but to provide timely responses.  The airlines are famous for this.

Here’s my advice:

None of the above is simple. Or easy. But it is relatively inexpensive.

The good thing about this is once senior management understands that listening to the customer can be done in a variety of ways, for modest cost, the listening to customers program can become a priority, with the necessary budget. It takes planned, concentrated effort and continuous monitoring, but is eminently doable.

Do not delay tapping into the voice of the customer. Stay on top of their concerns, wants and needs; invest in technology; find reliable, skilled partners. Stick with it. You will get there.

If you have questions, or want to do some brainstorming, feel free to message me on LinkedIn.  Or, contact me directly. No charge. No obligation. No gimmicks.

Ironically, many companies no longer prioritize listening to customers.

My recent experience, over the past five years, leads me to conclude the prime reason listening to customers does not happen is lack of resources. But that is misleading.  It is really a lack of budget.

Which means a senior manager (or a committee thereof), somewhere in the company, does not think customer listening is important and did not allocate enough (if any) budget.

But even “lack of budget” is misleading because the real reason companies do not have a “listening to the customer” program is because they do not know how to create one. Why do I think this is true?

    1. There are a few, if any, internal resources, either people or tools, to create the program.

    2. There are no business partners who can create such a program.

    3. They have experienced a succession of customer surveys with poor results — or, more specifically, surveys that did not yield the expected results.

The first thing to understand: surveys take many forms. 

There is really no cookie cutter.   Surveys can be implemented in many ways.  Survey content and format can be deployed in ways that generate satisfactory levels of response.

If a past survey, even a succession of them, failed, it’s not the survey’s fault.  Rather the fault lies either with the survey content manager, the survey producer, or both.

The second thing to understand: surveys are not the only tool for listening to the customer.

There are a number of ways to listen to customers.  Surveys are maybe the most familiar, but they are faf from the only way.

Here is just one well known example: Customer Comment Systems (CCS).  They are accessed online or by phone.  They provide clear, concise, and unambiguous ways for customers to say what is on their mind. They are moderately expense, but they have a fifty-year track record of success.

The downside: they require monitoring (which can be done with AI) and periodic maintenance and updates.

I have clients who are in love with their CCS because they get to listen and hear not only the customers’ actual comment, but in their own voice, which is lost in an AI transcription.

Many companies use Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) to not only get feedback, but to provide timely responses.  The airlines are famous for this.

Here’s my advice:

None of the above is simple. Or easy. But it is relatively inexpensive.

The good thing about this is once senior management understands that listening to the customer can be done in a variety of ways, for modest cost, the listening to customers program can become a priority, with the necessary budget. It takes planned, concentrated effort and continuous monitoring, but is eminently doable.

Do not delay tapping into the voice of the customer. Stay on top of their concerns, wants and needs; invest in technology; find reliable, skilled partners. Stick with it. You will get there.

If you have questions, or want to do some brainstorming, feel free to message me on LinkedIn.

Or contact me on the web. No charge. No obligation. No gimmicks.

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