Two weeks ago we began a discussion of ten ways to build a company-wide customer obsession in 2019.
By way of review, Customer Obsession is a top-down, company-wide spirit, focus, and priority of delighting customers. It starts with leadership, vision and (this week) listening. The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that listening rather than talking is the key to creating understanding. Tom Peters, in his book,
Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution
, "become obsessed with listening to customers and employees. Ring doorbells. Listen, listen, listen."
So, where are the ears in your organization? Who in your company has the stethoscope up to the heartbeat of customers? When was the last time you called a customer when you were not having a problem with them?
"If no one is listening to customers, the quality of service is declining"
What are the most effective ways you've found to get good customer feedback? A comment card? Survey sheet? Toll-free 800 number? An online survey (like Survey Monkey)? I think the simplest and most effective (and increasingly rare) is a follow-up phone call. Some offer that a face to face conversation at the time of the service/sale transaction is best, but customers many times feel on the spot when a manager "checks in" with them. "How was your meal?" asks the waiter at our restaurant. Do we really give an honest answer that the food was mediocre or disappointing? How often do we say, "fine," just to avoid confrontation or interruption?
I recommend a short follow up phone call within 24 hours of the service/sale experience. I find the feedback is more candid. Some separation and time seem to resolve feelings about the buying experience. I would keep this conversation friendly, grateful ("we wanted to call and thank you for your business and get your feedback"), and short (under two minutes) Two or three good questions like: How was your shopping or buying experience with us? Would you do business with us again? Would you recommend us to others? How could we improve?
Listening builds trust, shows caring, opens new channels of communication, defuses anger, deepens compassion, lays the groundwork for solving problems and bonds us to others. It's one of the top things we can do in 2019 to build company-wide customer obsession. It's the key to creating understanding.