One of the most powerful ways to keep your customers talking to you is to show that you really read and digest their feedback, and show that you have followed their advice in making improvements. At Symantec, Motorola, and Boeing, the Vice President of Customer Experience posts online the results of their latest feedback from customers, as well as what they're doing to address that feedback.
By closing the loop with customers, you can re-set their perceptions, so they don't feel compelled to carry around negative baggage of past experiences. They can re-set their perceptions to better meet your current realities of improved policies, business processes, and customer experiences. Symantec takes this a step further with a feedback form on their website — enabling anyone anytime to either vent their frustrations or express appreciation for a job well done.
Anytime customers share feedback — whether solicited via survey or unsolicited via complaint or casual comments to front-line employees — it's important to acknowledge the customers' view and thank them, with assurance you're working on solutions. Don't let them feel like they're hanging on a cliff waiting for advice they offered to make a difference!
At Boeing, a top executive writes an open letter to all customers, explaining what they company heard from the most recent customer survey, and detailing the company's achievements to-date and continuing action items, accordingly. For example, the company reports: "Our on-time responsiveness to airplane-on-ground requests has increased dramatically since the inception of the Operations Center — from 73% to 96%; however, we will continue to work to get our on-time performance even higher. … Our goal is to improve our support to you year after year so that you can operate your Boeing fleet as efficiently and safely as possible. Again, thank you for taking the time to give us formal feedback on our business. We always welcome your comments and ideas on how to serve you better."
Motorola's strategy is similar, reporting in its customer newsletter what they're doing specifically to improve in critical areas from the customer's viewpoint. The article begins with: "You spoke … we listened. Once again, thank you for the feedback you gave us through our Customer Satisfaction Survey. We paid very close attention to your input — what you told us we do well, and where you would like us to improve, specifically in the areas of service and repair, product and programming software, and data hardware. Continuing our pledge to assure your complete satisfaction and delight, we assigned Digital Six Sigma teams to address your concerns and to formulate and implement action plans. Below is an update of the progress we have made in each of these areas."
Proactive communication with customers after they've given you feedback ignites their enthusiasm to continue helping you see their perspective. It improves future survey response rates and positive word-of-mouth. It's an excellent way to transition defectors or ambivalent customers to promoters of your brand. Acting on customer feedback and closing the loop with them is the most sustainable way to reduce customer churn, improve customer experience, and increase customer lifetime value.
How has your company provided progress reports to re-set your customers' expectations?
Contact the author, Lynn Hunsaker, to find out how to customize these tips to your situation.
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