Perfecting Service Management

Issue #1 Friday, September 6, 2002

Welcome!

topical index

Welcome to Customer Centricity's inaugural newsletter. We hope that you enjoy this newsletter, and find it beneficial in helping you increase the value of your customer relationships. 

The purpose of this newsletter is to deliver value to you in the form of information that you can apply in your role as a customer-focused business leader, and provide you updates on the happenings of Customer Centricity. 

In this issue you will learn the six time proven rules for a successful Customer Satisfaction Improvement Program.

In this issue:
Our New Web-site

A BIG thank you goes out to Tom Hathcoat of Diverse Business Solutions for his work on our new web-site. If you haven't visited our site in the last 3 weeks, you are encouraged to do so. In addition to "brochure-ware", you will find helpful tips, and additional resources, for unlocking the value of your customer relationships. We hope that you find the new site useful. If you have ANY ideas on how to make this a more effective tool for you, please let us know. Finally, you can learn more about Diverse Business Solutions, the creator/maintainer of our site, by visiting www.webdiverse.com. Tell Tom we said "Hi". 


Customer Centricity In The News

Since the launch of Customer Centricity, in July, we have taken a number of steps to promote awareness of our services and confirming our value proposition in the marketplace. In a nutshell, the message is being VERY well received! In the words of a Vice President, from one of our prospect companies, "there is such a need out there for improved customer service". We are creating momentum "in the news" by starting with the local papers, while setting our sites on having articles published in various business journals and magazines. To review our current media coverage, visit the "In The News" section of our web-site. 

www.customercentricity.biz/news.html


Unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys - Part 1:
Adherence To Measurement Principles

In today's business environment companies cannot afford to lose a single profitable customer. By effectively leveraging results from a customer satisfaction survey an organization can respond to their customer's needs in ways that increase revenue as well as improve customer and employee, satisfaction and loyalty. Many companies perform customer satisfaction surveys, but don't receive full value from their investments to administer the program. Too often survey results are used simply for monthly reporting on "how we did last month".

A few years ago I had the pleasure of being placed in charge of a fast-paced and dynamic Customer Care organization. After several weeks in my new role I was in my office enjoying the challenges of my new position when one of my team-members dropped off a stack of "thank you" letters for me to sign. Upon receiving my signature these letters would be sent to customers that had taken our most recent survey. The letters stressed to the customer how much we appreciated the time they invested in taking the survey, and our commitment to using the information to improve the service we deliver to them. We had been doing monthly reviews of the survey data, but something was missing. The reality was that the organization was investing resources in a process to perform customer satisfaction surveys and not getting the maximum value possible. And, we were wasting the time of our customers.

At a juncture like this, you have 2 choices: stop the survey process (save your money and your customer's time) and throw the thank you letters in the trash, or leverage the customer satisfaction survey results as a catalyst for continuous improvement. We selected option 2. Reaping the full benefits of our survey program didn't happen overnight. We ultimately implemented a very effective program that truly leveraged our customer satisfaction survey information. I could again feel comfortable with our investment in the program, and in the fact that we were no longer wasting the time of our customers. Most important of all was the fact that our overall customer satisfaction ratings consistently improved.

In my experience the key elements to unlocking the value of customer satisfaction surveys, include:

  • Adherence to Measurement Principles
  • Responding to immediate customer needs identified during the survey process
  • Implementing customer-focused changes
  • Implementing account strategies
  • Management review and assessment

Part 1 of "Unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys" will explore the topic of Measurement Principles.

Measurement Principles:

Your adherence to the following principles, within your customer satisfaction survey program, will place you where you want to be in the eyes of your customer. 

  1. You can't manage what you don't measure. Performing a customer satisfaction survey program is step 1. If you are not presently performing customer satisfaction surveys, there are many reputable firms that can help you with this. I have worked extensively with Development II, Inc., and highly recommend them to assist you in this regard. To learn more about Development II see their contact information at the end of this newsletter. Assuming that you are measuring customer satisfaction, we will now discuss the remaining principles for managing to this critical metric.

  2. Any measurement that does not hold an individual responsible is not an effective metric. While many companies adhere to one element of the first measurement principle (that of "measuring" customer satisfaction), managing to it requires that an individual be held responsible for the customer satisfaction metrics. For example; a customer satisfaction survey program may be designed to produce feedback on customer service, account management, billing, provisioning, etc. At the end of the day, the managers of these organizations are responsible for the customer satisfaction levels of their respective areas. As such, they should be fully engaged in your customer satisfaction survey program.

  3. No one should ever be held responsible for a measurement that they cannot influence. Too often, customer-facing personnel know that their firm is performing customer satisfaction surveys, but they don't know what the customers are saying in the survey results. This causes tremendous frustration for the front-line personnel, because they want to know what they can do to improve customer satisfaction. Your program should be designed to include communications to your customer-facing personnel so they know what they can do to improve customer satisfaction.

  4. The importance of a measurement is determined by how high in an organization it is consistently reviewed. Make no mistake, business is about numbers. In my opinion, there are 2 sets of numbers that every company would do well to track and manage to: 1) the financials, 2) customer satisfaction levels. If executives of a corporation only care about the financial indicators, that company has lost sight of their source of revenue; the customer. To be truly successful companies must include customer satisfaction results on their list of key performance indicators that are reviewed by executive leadership on a monthly basis.

  5. Every measurement must have clear unambiguous and rational goals. After establishing a baseline, for its customer satisfaction levels, a company must set measurable and achievable goals in terms of where it wants to be. Firms initially find that customers are totally satisfied in some areas of performance, while not satisfied in others. Companies typically focus their efforts only on areas of dissatisfaction, which is an appropriate step upon initially establishing a baseline. However, the customer satisfaction survey program needs to pay attention to all areas. That is, customer expectations are continuously changing. As such, areas in which customers are satisfied today may turn into areas of dissatisfaction, if a company doesn't remain progressive.

  6. If a carrot and stick is not clear, for a measurement, it will fall into disuse. Building upon each of the above principles, it is not good enough to simply measure, manage to, influence, promote visibility and set goals for customer satisfaction results. Those personnel that can influence customer satisfaction, directly or indirectly, must benefit from reaching, and be impacted by missing, customer satisfaction goals. To accomplish this management must ensure their organization's compensation model is tied to customer satisfaction levels. This could be in the form of annual performance reviews in which merit increases would reflect achievement of goals, or lack thereof. Alternatively, this could occur through a bonus program that is administered on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Our next article, in the series “Unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys” will cover the topic of responding to immediate customer needs identified during the survey process.

 
More About Development II, Inc.

Development II, Inc., is a Business Consulting and Market Research firm that designs, implements, and maintains specialized customer satisfaction programs for improving business effectiveness. To learn more about Development II, visit their web-site, or call 888-227-3244.

www.development2.com

 

More About Customer Centricity, Inc.

Customer Centricity is a business consulting firm that partners with companies to improve the performance of their service organizations. We leverage our real-world experience to help our clients manage their customer relationships in more effective and satisfying ways.

Customer Centricity delivers on this promise by optimizing the interaction between people, process and technology to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and increased operational efficiencies. We provide:

  1. Comprehensive assessments to identify the actions that will yield the greatest return;
  2. Skills Training to enable customer-facing personnel to deliver exceptional levels of customer service;
  3. Design and Implementation of business process techniques to serve the customer in efficient, effective and consistent manners; and
  4. Identification of the appropriate business processes to automate, enabling companies to get the most from their investments in technology.

In addition to our core practices, we also maintain a network of strategic partnerships to provide end-to-end consulting across your organization with a commitment to seamless execution.

Click on the following link to see what our customers have to say.

To learn more about Customer Centricity:

call: 603.491.7948

send e-mail to: info@customercentricity.biz 

or visit our web-site: www.customercentricity.biz

In Closing

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Copyright (c) 2002 by Customer Centricity, Inc. All rights reserved.