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Friday, November 29, 2013

How Should You Listen To Your Customers?

Most brands today understand that it is important to gather feedback from their customers.  Be it through customer satisfaction surveys, NPS questions, website comment boards, customer service tracking systems, old-fashioned paper comment cards, or monitoring the social media, companies are listening.  That’s smart.

But All Customers Are Not Equal

 At the same time we must realize that all those customers are not equal in importance to the brand.  Based on a combination of factors including volume, longevity and frequency of purchase, price, service demands, etc. the mix of customers for every brand includes:

·         Profitable customers

·         Breakeven customers

·         Costly customers

Does It Really Make Sense?

While some of us have even learned how to differentiate and identify individual customers by profitability type, virtually every brand continues to treat the feedback of all customers equally.  Should the opinions of customers that you shouldn’t even want to keep (those costly customers who typically represent 20% of the total) really have equal weight (or any vote whatsoever) on the direction you take in modifying the customer experience and in the setting of improvement priorities future of your brand? 

We don’t think so.

A Small Step With Big Impact

While the word of mouth circulating about your brand, and therefore your image and reputation are at stake, you can’t ignore what is being said by any unhappy customers -- Especially when it is being announced through public social media.  But every effort should be made to limit the voice of the unprofitable customers in the broader setting of priorities for improvement and to magnify the voice of the type of customers you want to keep and win more of in the future.


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