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How to Increase Customer Loyalty & Sales by using a Customer Satisfaction Survey

I am sure you have participated in many surveys, either online, telephonic, or face to face. When was the last time anyone contacted you to thank you for your input or to comment on what you said? I am willing to bet never. And if they did I bet you still remember which company it was because it made such an impression. With this knowledge next time you do a survey make sure your customers remember you many years later.

In all probability you commission a customer satisfaction survey to find out how good you are, to pat yourself on your back, or to understand a specific issue. But your customers participate in your survey for a completely different reason. They give up their time because they want to see change. If you don’t understand this basic concept and act on it, over time your customers will resent your surveys and by implication you (unfortunately I have seen this quite a lot).

If you are doing a survey a secondary benefit can be to significantly increase customer loyalty, wallet share, revenue, and reduce customer churn. How do you do this? Very simple; phone your customers who participated and thank them.

We have found the sooner our clients phone their customers after the interview the stronger this loyalty effect works. One of our key clients in the IT industry uses this to good effect – their key account managers have to contact their customers within a week of them being interviewed. They say their customers love the fact that they are consulted after the interview and partly attribute their customer loyalty and company growth to immediate feedback.

This is one of the reasons we insist surveys are not anonymous, so issues raised by a specific customer can be addressed ASAP. Some worry whether a lack of anonymity will make their customers more circumspect. Far from it; we have found it does not curb them about issues they are facing, in fact they want to go on record with some issues in the hope someone will finally listen and do something about it.

Your customers love it when you acknowledge their suggestions, comments, and participation, and they reward you handsomely. How difficult is it to simply pick up the phone and thank them for participating and set up a meeting to address issues raised in the interview? Many companies are constantly looking for ways to get in front of their customers for relationship building, and this is the perfect excuse. It is not a sales call which turns customers off, but a meeting to discuss issues, which helps increase loyalty as your customer now is part of the solution instead of being on the outside.

The sooner you contact your customer after the interview the bigger the impact and the greater your customer loyalty will be. Some of our clients say they don’t have time to call, but this is a no brainer for me. How can you not do a five minute exercise that will exponentially increase your customer’s loyalty with all the associated spinoffs? Opportunities like this come around rarely so grab it with both hands.

An example: when we interviewed a client’s large customer (monthly revenue close to R 1 million a month), the customer said they were fed up with our client and were in the process of talking to a competitor with the aim of switching suppliers at the end of the month. The interviewer phoned me immediately after the interview, I phoned our client to warn them and an Individual Report was on their desk later that evening. Armed with the information our client called their customer first thing the next morning and was able to rescue the account. One interview gave a phenomenal ROI for the whole project.

As this is key to customer relationship building, one of Customer Relationship Auditing’s competitive advantages is how fast we get an Individual Report of the interview onto your desk. Within 48 hours of the interview you will receive the Individual Report and if our interviewer picks up a big problem we will bust a gut to get that Individual Report to you on either the same day or the next. The reason we do this is so you can get back to your customer within three days of the interview maximum and address issues we raise. No other research company offers this service – you usually have to wait a week or more after the last interview (and possibly months after the first interview) to get your results and by that time it could be too late.

In each project we try and find one interview that pays for the whole project – a customer you didn’t know was about to leave, or who wants more services, or who has other needs you can satisfy. After all, if you do not get value for money why bother doing the survey in the first place?

Douglas MacGregor

Customer Relationship Auditing

“Building superior business relationships through client intelligence”

+27 (11) 805-3588 (direct)

+27 (82) 414-9394 (cell)