Why Just Listening To Customers Is Not Enough

67% of large companies rate themselves as being good at soliciting customer feedback. However, only 26% of those believe they are good at making changes based on the insights.

When you open the research to SMB’s those numbers get even worse. This is a problem.

Fortunately, during the last few years, companies are investing in solutions and processes to listen more to their customers. Every day, more organisations believe that the only way they can differentiate themselves in the long run from their competitors, is by providing a better experience to their customers.

How most of the companies listen to customer feedback?

They normally use the following methodologies:

  • Email
  • Customer Surveys
  • Customer feedback platforms
  • Social listening
  • Onsite: conferences & events

Even if 65% of companies collect feedback and have CX metrics in place, only 22% of them are actually correlating those with financial metrics.

The unsolved mystery of the NPS Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), the famous customer loyalty metric introduced by  Fred Reichheld in his Harvard Business Review in 2003, is currently used by many companies to measure how healthy their customer base is.

Everyone is talking about that number. It could be -5, +7, -10 or + 65. The higher the better, the lower the more worry you need to be about. This is a great way, not the only one, to measure your customers’ experience. The problem is that most of the companies don’t know what the monetary value of each NPS point is. They are happy if they can increase their NPS score by 5 points from one quarter to the next one, but when you ask how much money that means to the organisation, they simply have no clue.

This isn’t easy and takes time and quite an effort to be able to find what that magic number is. And this will be different for every company, so it is not possible to standardise it based on industry, company size, markets they work with, etc…  We will cover the NPS in future blogs so stay tuned.

The most effective way for gaining customer feedback

Probably, the most effective way of getting customer feedback, but sometimes the one that many companies miss, is just asking for it. I don’t mean customer surveys, everyone does that, what I really mean is that your employees should ask for feedback when  they have a chance, in every interaction, call, meeting they have with your customers.

Sales, account managers, customer service, customer success managers, product development, marketing, even finance! They interact with customers, some of them on a daily basis. As an example, account managers are under pressure to sell. Yes, they need to take care of their customers, but they need to sell, up-sell, cross-sell to them; otherwise they’ll be in trouble.

Asking for feedback at the beginning of every conversation they have with a customer, not at the end, keeping that information and more importantly, sharing it with the relevant people within the company; can be the best way to increase your revenue in the short & mid-term.

The most stupid, still efficient, way to share feedback (and act on it)

There are great software solutions to collect customer feedback and make it available to other departments, but if you don’t have the resources to implement one of those, this is how you can do it for free. Maybe not ideal but it will work.

  1. Create a Google Spreadsheet. Yes, that stupid. Create the fields you need. These could be some basic ones:
  • Feedback date
  • Customer name
  • Account owner
  • Type of feedback
    • Product
    • Marketing
    • Finance
    • Customer Service
    • Sales
  • Feedback
  • Actions to take
  • Status (Open/In progress/Solved)

2. Share the spreadsheet with everyone who needs either to collect feedback or review              it.

3. Setup a bi-weekly or monthly meeting  with the head of each department you want                to have involved.  Go through the list of items, address them and agree on actions to              be taken based on the insights.

What’s the key message here?

If you are able to implement a culture of asking for feedback on every interaction employees have with customers, you will be able to:

  1. Approach that sales call based on what the customer is telling you in the first place, not what you were thinking of telling him. This way you increase your chance to sell.
  2. Build and improve your products based on the features customers care about or would like to have included in your tool.
  3. Improve your service level to match or overachieve what customers expect from you.
  4. Have better information about industry needs and competitors to market your products and services.
  5. Involve your finance department for them to have a better idea of what your customers want.
  6. Build a customer centric culture within your organisation where each department works with the customer needs in mind.

Sometimes, the most difficult thing is to make things simple.

Feel free to leave your comments or contact me for a chat or advice about customer experience management.






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