Archive for the ‘Customer Insight’ Category
After a week of globetrotting, Nick Hague reflects on his experiences to explain how a good questionnaire can be the first step in achieving satisfied – or, even better, delighted – customers.
As I sat at Heathrow Airport on Monday evening waiting for a connecting flight to Athens, I was confronted by a lady wanting to ask me a few quick questions about my experience of T5. My flight had been delayed but the gate was about to been called. However, since it was a ‘short survey’ I said I would help. She asked me the usual questions about shops, eateries, toilets and spaces to sit and relax, but since I wasn’t looking to shop, I had already eaten a sandwich on the previous flight and was on a quick turnaround on my connection, none of the questions were relevant to me. It would have been good if I had chance to freely say that I am always deeply frustrated with the lack of plug sockets near seating areas in airports to allow business travelers to charge their ever-depleting laptop batteries for the forthcoming flights, but this highly structured questionnaire didn’t allow such feedback. I was now being called to the gate and so it won’t surprise you that I rattled my answers off without much thought.
I then boarded the plane for the usual humdrum flight experience in cramped surroundings with little space to stretch out, never mind get some work done! However, on this occasion I was wrong to think this way as one of the air stewards must have seen my discomfort and, once airborne, I was offered the chance to move to one of the exit seats where I would have more room. That was very perceptive I thought! It was now a few hours since I had eaten and I was getting hungry. I predicted that the usual dried out meal would be as exciting as ever and would be washed down by the accustomed cheap wine – nonetheless, it would at least curb the onset of my hunger. Then the second thing that I wasn’t expecting happened – I was given a palatable meal but with the usual cheap plonk. I didn’t complain (it isn’t in the English nature) but my face must have spoken a thousand words. The air steward fittingly came back with a very nice Argentinean red – wow I thought! Now I know in-flight entertainment isn’t anything new but I had flown to Athens before and never had a movie, but as I tucked into my meal it came across the speakers that tonight’s movie would be ‘The Blind Side’. I had just read some good reviews on this movie and so sat back and relaxed to watch it. After 3½ hours I arrived in Athens at 1am and realized that even though I was a little bleary eyed, I had in fact enjoyed my flight!
The next morning when I vacated my hotel and was waiting for my taxi, I was given a feedback form that asked me about my satisfaction with the courteousness of the staff, the speed of check-in, my bed, the temperature of the room, the amenities (pool, bar etc) and breakfast. I noticed that there wasn’t a question about being kept up all night by the traffic outside my window or for the fact that I didn’t have an iron in my room to iron my creased shirt and trousers for my impending meeting. Like at Heathrow, I had to dash off a response as my taxi was waiting – however, I did point out to the receptionist that there was no scope for me to add comment to the form outside of the tick box questions.
That same evening I then boarded my plane home. With vivid memories of my inbound flight I quietly looked forward to my flight back to the UK. However, I should have known better. We boarded with the usual German efficiency (row numbers at a time) and we even set off on time (unlike my flight the previous day), but yes, you guessed it. I had a cramped seat, the meal was a dried sandwich, the wine was like vinegar and there was no movie!
Since there was no movie, it did at least give me time to pen my looming Thursday Night Insight piece. Thinking back over the last couple of days’ events, it hit home to me what the difference was between customer satisfaction, delighting customers and customer loyalty. Was I satisfied with my flight back from Athens; yes, it got me back without crashing and on time. However, was I delighted; no, and if I ever have a choice again I will definitely choose a different airline. My reflective time also allowed me to think back to the surveys I took part in at the airport and the hotel and emphasized the importance of not only asking the right questions but also picking the right time so respondents are in the right frame of mind to answer them properly.
The market research industry is probably its own worst enemy at times and latest thoughts often swing from one extreme to another. Either questionnaires are designed so detailed to get to the heart of what customers think that you run the risk of not surveying the busy but important customer; or with the desire for simplicity becoming worldwide, does a CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) or NPS (Net Promoter Score) oversimplify things and not actually mean anything other than a number used for internal benchmarking?
All researchers like their lists and so here are my 5 top tips from this week’s experience to take into account when designing a customer satisfaction or customer loyalty project:
To conclude, in designing customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys I think we should all remind ourselves of the words of Albert Einstein “Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler” – but remember; it can be the simple things in life that can actually delight your customer.
Find out more about some of the subjects touched in today’s Thursday Night Insight. Read our:
Much has been written on the subject of brands – not least by B2B International! As we know, a brand is made up of many things – name, logo and values to name but a few. But can there be any doubt about the importance of a brand name? In a Thursday Night Insight article last year, Chrissie Douglas gave us some hints on selecting a brand name:
So, what happens if you get it wrong?
According to research by YouGov/G2, Cillit Bang has been voted the UK’s most disliked brand name. Of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed, a quarter of women, a fifth of men and 27% of over-55s did not like the brand name. Yet, the cleaning brand, which was launched in 2005 by Reckitt Benckiser, is actually considered by its owner to be a “power brand” and its sales show it to be an extremely successful product. So, clearly, brand name is not everything.
Yet, of the top 10 most disliked brand names (shown below), four are new names for previously known brands, including 3 in the top 5:
Cif used to be known in the UK as Jif, Snickers was for many years called Marathon, and Veet previously went by the name Immac. This perhaps underlines the importance of getting the brand name right in the first place. Once people have started to associate certain values and attributes with a brand, any changes can lead to confusion or mistrust. Unless you recognise the importance of brands and adopt a well thought-out marketing and communications rebranding strategy, you could find yourself with a lot of brand rebuilding work to be done.
To find out more about branding, please refer to several of our white papers, including:
On the customer satisfaction page of our website, we state the following:
“Most companies lose 45% to 50% of their customers every five years, and winning new customers can be up to 20 times more expensive than retaining existing customers. Just a 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by 25% to 85%, depending on the industry.”
There can be very little doubt that retaining your existing customers – especially those most profitable ones – is vital under any economic conditions; never more so than when times are tough.
Indeed, as reported in CCF Online, customer service author Colin Shaw, who spoke at the recent Call Centre Expo, is adamant that a recession is the ideal opportunity to galvanise customers and create strong customer loyalty.
While competitors may allow customer service to take a back seat when times are tough, now is the opportunity for you to focus on improving the experience of your customers.
According to Shaw, some of the key questions we as companies should be asking are:
Some telling stats reveal that many companies only have themselves to blame when it comes to customer churn. On average, of the customers that leave, it is because:
This would indicate that four out of every five customers leave because of the actions – or inactions – of the company.
Ironically it can be small things – which are more often than not easy to action – that go a long way towards making a customer feel valued, keeping a customer happy and, more importantly, encouraging their loyalty.
Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your customers satisfied. Why not read more about this subject in the following white papers:
Better still, call or e-mail us to see how our tailored customer satisfaction programmes can help you maintain customers for life.
As technology – particularly advances in the capabilities of, and access to, the internet – improves so many of our lives in countless ways, we should not forget that ‘traditional’ means of seeking information and making purchases may still very much have a place.
According to recent research findings from UK-based telecommunications company Invomo, companies which fail to provide telephone interaction risk alienating their customers.
The study of 3,000 adult consumers suggested that nearly 40% of customers insist on making purchases by telephone rather than online, stating that more than a quarter felt more confident when ordering through a call centre and one in five found it more convenient to call than use the internet.
Nick Wiley, CEO of Invomo, said: “Companies that only have a web strategy for servicing orders could be missing out on a significant proportion of business. Making sure customers don’t have to hunt the length and breadth of a web site for a contact number and offering a ‘call me back’ option could be a good start to reduce lost orders. Looking beyond short-term fixes, how many companies’ web and call centre operations are gearing up to customers who want their suppliers to really earn their loyalty and have faith in their own ability to deal with these street wise callers?”
Find out what your customers really think of your company. Do they find it easy to reach you? Can they easily access all the information they need to enable them to make a purchase decision? What makes them choose you over your competitors?
Our customer satisfaction research can help you to ensure you continue to meet their changing needs and increase the likelihood of them buying more from you in the future.
They say that the customer is always right. But how exactly do you define a customer? Recent protests by British university students about the quality of the education they’re ‘purchasing’ have caused Carol-Ann Morgan to reflect on the lessons we can all learn in a wider business context.
Who would have ever thought it? …Students protesting about not enough teaching classes? However, this is exactly what has recently been seen at a number of well known UK universities, and reported in the national press. Thinking back to the days of my education, most students breathed a sigh of relief at the cancellation of any classes and headed for the nearest place of recreation. The recent actions from some students raise questions about the shift in students’ attitudes and behaviours related to their educational experience.
Higher education has undergone significant changes in recent years. Many of these changes have impacted directly on the perceptions of students themselves; not insignificantly the requirement for them to pay fees. This has prompted discussions within the sector about the positioning of the student as a “customer” or a “consumer”. It can, and has been argued that the term “customer” is not appropriate for the field of education as the relationship is completely different to that of the conventional commercial buyer/seller experience. The successful attainment of an educational qualification requires mutual investment from both sides of the equation. This said, many academics have directly observed a shift in student attitudes and behaviours in favour of the “customer” positioning; most recently in the very public protestations by students about both the quality and the quantity of the educational “product” they feel they have purchased.
Whether or not we agree that an educational qualification can ever be thought of as a “purchased” product given the nature of the necessary relationship between the parties involved, the student protestations serve to remind us of two things. Firstly, the importance and power of the voice of the customer, consumer or service user (by whatever name we choose to use), and secondly, the perceived value for money of the product. The students’ action was an open demonstration that their expectations are not being met as far as the delivery of the course is concerned, and that they would like to place the issue on the management radar screen. Customers in commercial markets may simply switch to use competitor suppliers.
Reputations take time to build, and taking our eye off the mainstream product, from which these reputations have been built, can have disastrous effects. Customers are generally unconcerned about internal operational or financial issues which can impact on the quality or delivery of a product to them; their satisfaction is rooted in expectation and direct experience. Taking care of our customers not only enables us to respond with offers and services which meet current and future needs, it also serves to protect the reputation of the company by ensuring we have a loyal base of advocates willing to spread the word – a valuable source of free PR.
B2B International offers an innovative student satisfaction package. Click here to read more about it.