If customers take the time to tell you, take the time to listen.
Whenever a customer provides feedback, take the time to listen. In a recent meeting a company told me they had “piles of feedback” but no way to respond or even read through it. When we started to go through the feedback we saw some trend lines that connected to why certain areas of the business were not succeeding. Nothing destroys customer trust quicker than asking for input and doing nothing with it. Even if you cannot act on certain areas of feedback, creating a culture of responsiveness will earn loyalty and a sense of partnership.
Talk to your customers.
The value of creating opportunities for customer dialogue – one on one – with your more strategic and senior executive clients and one to many in Customer Advisory Board formats is critical to your success. There is no substitute for gathering client thinking. Systematic interviews should be a core part of your marketing organization’s voice of the customer program and a core part of building agendas for any form of executive meeting.
Compare what they say with what they do.
One of the most valuable exercises made possible by a multi-faceted executive engagement program that takes into account both qualitative and quantitative feedback channels is the ability to analyze and compare a customers’ words with their actions. A CMO recently said, “We are constantly amazed at how our customers say they want to buy one thing, while their actual purchase behavior never matches up.”Qualitative discussions paired with strong analytics tools can help to avoid these types of surprises and avoid the lagging indicator driving your next action.
Take the time to listen and invest the time in taking actions on what you hear from your clients – you’ll be surprised at the value, insights and strengthened partnerships that come from listening.