How Do Your Customers Rate You? Here’s How To Find Out Before It’s Too Late

With most people facing challenging times at the moment, our commercial relationships are under the microscope like never before; the little things that might have previously been put up with are now becoming the catalysts for change. Tough questions are being asked about who is genuinely valued and who isn’t. Those who fail the test are being deferred, declined or terminated as the case may be; the fewer number who pass are actually busier than ever before!

If you do end up losing out, it shouldn’t really be a surprise because one of four things will probably have happened, summarised here using a Johari Window (created in 1955 by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham):

  1. You both knew you there were issues but had chosen not to address them for some reason or excuse (like being too busy)
  2. You didn’t know the customer felt there were issues because you never asked the question
  3. You knew that there were issues but thought you could get away with it as they hadn’t been identified by the customer yet
  4. Neither party had taken the time to evaluate whether or not there were in fact any issues
So, what to do about it? Whilst there are many questions you could ask that might provide interesting and useful feedback, just one question will tell you what you really need to know: “How can we do better?”

The answers should be followed by one simple response, “Thank you for telling us”.

In fairness, you may be one of those companies totally obsessed by customer feedback but may not be aware of the problem you have created. That’s because most of us now are so inundated with feedback forms and surveys that we don’t bother to respond anymore! A simple question asked on-line results in multiple emails asking if you were happy with the answer. Take your car in for service and a manufacturer’s orientated survey of 30+ questions arrives the next day. Go out for a meal? Fill in this form with your bill (most of which is primarily data collection for marketing purposes). Then you get the surveys that start “We would appreciate 5 minutes of your time for some feedback” Seriously? You get to the point where you tell these people that the single biggest thing that would improve your customer satisfaction is for them to stop asking about your customer satisfaction!

In summary, in terms of an action plan for improving customer value and retention, why not pilot systematically asking the question for a month and see what feedback you get – we guarantee you’ll learn something of value!

This tip is just one of many covered in our “Commercial Awareness for Non-Salespeople” coaching and our “Principles of Sales & Marketing Strategy” coaching. With approaching 40 years’ experience, we are experts in the field so if you are keen to explore ways you can win new sales, retain more customers and develop more sales with existing customers then please Contact Us to ask us more about what options are available.

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