It’s been a while since I wrote about customer surveys and feedback. Almost a year, in fact. Here’s a few of the things that I’ve written about in the past:
- If we are not willing to be honest as customers how can we expect businesses to get better?
- Are You Not Getting Many Customer Complaints But Are Still Losing Customers?
- Customer surveys, low response rates and staff targets
So, it seems appropriate to review where we are with surveying, feedback and building customer centric businesses.
Over the last year, my feeling and experience tells me that more and more businesses are starting to survey their customers and ask for their feedback.
That’s good but not so good too.
Don’t get me wrong, I think surveys and feedback systems done in the right way are great but aren’t they only the start?
Speaking to many business owners and executives who are surveying their customers, I often ask them what they have gone on to do with the results. That’s where I’ve heard various responses like:
- Good question!
- We packaged up the results and sent them out to the team
- We presented findings to the Board
- We were quite happy with our customer satisfaction numbers as it hit our targets so we haven’t done anything else
- We haven’t done anything with the results yet
- We’re happy with the way the numbers are
- We have no plans
- We’re thinking about what they mean for our business
Isn’t asking for someone’s opinion and then not doing anything substantial with it or not telling them what you are going to do following their input tantamount to not asking at all?
Follow up and follow through seems to be where there is a real issue. Recently, I found a piece of research (below) that supports this. It comes from the folks over at Customer Champions, which shows that whilst most companies do survey their customers only a small number actually follow through completely by doing something with their feedback and then communicating back to them what they have done.
In my previous post: #Likeminds – Innovation and Opportunity – How to best lose your customers! – Great ideas, insight and time to reflect, Delphine Remy-Boutang defined a social business as:
“A social business is one that listens to its customers and those around it, responds, takes action and transforms”.
For me, building a customer centric organisation is a lot like building a ‘social business’. The most important parts being missed currently by many businesses are the ‘responds, takes action and transforms’ elements.
What do you think stops companies with the follow up and follow through? Is it to do with incentives, culture, perceived value, understanding, process, responsibilities…..?