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Analysing the feedback

01 Dec 2009

Customer satisfaction is about the long-term health and profi tability of your business.In my previous article we discussed who should be involved from your company’s point of view, getting your team understanding and buying into your drive for improving customer satisfaction and focused on the goal ofdeveloping a key ‘satisfaction metric’. We looked at how you get feedback from your customers; from  websites, to surveys (informal and formal), evaluation forms at events, updates from your receptionist and feedback from your sales and service team. We also looked at whether you should conduct a formal online or  hard copy survey, what questions you might like to use and what online tools are available to help you. This month we are going to look at how you collect all of this feedback, analyse it and determine what your  ‘big rocks’ are. Remember, whilst you will be focusing on satisfying all of your customers, you will only be able to focus on one or two key improvement projects at a time. It is better to narrow down the projects,  scope them fully and make the changes, rather than get caught up in multiple projects which are hard to track  and deliver on. Start by setting up a central repository or collaborative site on your network to collect all data. Encourage your  team to regularly post any feedback that they receive. To get them to do this, you could set up an award  each month with a small prize, such as a bottle of wine, for the person who is giving the most feedback. From your different sources, what is emerging as a challenge? It could be: ? People not engaging frequently enough with the customers. ? Questions on your pricing structure, or a perception by some that they are “just not getting the value  promised”. ? Your team not delivering on the original scope of work. ? Unacceptable service levels. ? Surprise at the final cost of the project! When analysing the feedback, check the number of times an issue arises and also closely scrutinise the  verbatim comments to determine your priorities. The following may also help you to develop themes. Work done by Berry (Bart Allen) and Brodeur between  1990 and 1998 defined 10 ‘quality values’ which influence satisfaction behaviour, known as the 10 domains  of satisfaction. These include:? Quality ? Value ? Timeliness ? Efficiency ? Ease of access ? Environment ? Inter-departmental teamwork ? Front line service behaviours ? Commitment to the customer ? Innovation. It is interesting that these two researchers highlight the interdepartmental teamwork. Also in support of this is Jim Clemmer, a renowned writer on customer service. In his book Firing on all Cylinders he states that “the quality of external relationships is a direct reflection of the quality of internal customer relationships”. There’s much more similar supporting research, so don’t overlook internal relationships if problems  surrounding these shouldarise in your feedback comments. Once you have defined your key project areas, consider the following: ? Who should be involved internally? ? What time will it take out of their normal day? ? What investments do you think might be needed (funding, time in respect of system changes or training  time)? ? What is the risk/cost to your business if you don’t make a change? My next column will cover implementation and how to undertake planning with your customers based on the  feedback and analysis. I’ll make suggestions on putting measures in place and how to prioritise.

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