Astute Planning, Flawless Execution,
Delighted Customers

Issue #151

Tuesday, July 14 , 2009

Your Customers...An Underutilized Asset?
By
Cedric Nash

Effective use of customer feedback can fuel increases in customer satisfaction, loyalty, growth and profitability. Whether it acts like rocket fuel or coal depends on you: how you organize your feedback efforts and what you do with the feedback in short how you manage this valuable asset.

An asset? While not a traditional asset that appears on the balance sheet, customer feedback is a kind of intangible asset. How so? It is essentially data that belongs to the firm (if they collect it) and that represents knowledge and insights about customers. It can certainly be translated into action and "put to work" to help the firm reach tangible objectives.

If you don't effectively utilize this asset, it won't be immediately noticeable. No FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) violations here! But in the longer term, competitors who make better use of their customer feedback asset will likely win the day. It's a new class of asset a "discretionary intangible asset" (the opposite of a stupidity tax).

Most firms, however, don't perceive the full value of this asset and don't make the necessary investments and efforts to put it to work effectively. In these cases, Customer Feedback is an underutilized asset. It could be delivering great value but it is not.

Firms that do fully value customer feedback tend to have well defined programs to systematically capture, understand, and act on the customer feedback. Also, they are often leaders in their sectors in several key measures of success: customer satisfaction & loyalty; revenue growth relative to their competitors; profitability. This is not coincidence.

It's not rocket science to put in place a program to effectively manage the customer feedback asset, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. It does, however, take a serious organizational effort, but the ingredients of how to successfully do it are known. Boiled down, they are:

  • Leadership the focus on customer centricity must start at the top.

  • Commitment - to the goal of getting good at managing customer feedback.

  • Resources - financial and human (often a cross functional team).

  • Tools to collect and analyze feedback, to help develop follow up action plans.

  • Know-how.

Sometimes these programs go by names like Voice of the Customer (VOC), Customer Experience Management (CEM), Total Customer Experience (TCE), etc.

Customer Centricity, together with QuestBack Boston, has developed a service offering to rapidly put in place a turnkey Customer Experience Management program. We have the programmatic know-how and the tools to help you quickly create an effective customer feedback process, and to jumpstart it. It can be up and running in a short timeframe and for a modest investment. Best of all, we teach you to fish. Once you are up and running, you can run the program internally, while having access to the Customer Centricity / QuestBack team as necessary. If this sounds like what you need, contact us we'd love to help you better use one of your greatest assets!

About QuestBack: QuestBack is an enterprise feedback management tool for gathering, analyzing and acting on feedback from critical constituencies. With unique ASK&ACT TM follow-up capabilities, QuestBack makes customer feedback data immediately actionable and supports the implementation of feedback management processes. The company is based in Europe and represented in the US by QuestBack Boston LLC.

 

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