BusinessDictionary.com defines a team as “a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project”.
If the goal of any business is to have satisfied customers, why do so few treat their customers as part of the team? After all, they play the most critical role in the company’s overall success, regardless of the type of product or service being marketed. In today’s age of hyper-connectivity, always-on experiences, user generated content, social media, and co-creation, your customers have already become part of your team.
Anyone who has ever played sports shares a common understanding that you’re okay as long as the coach is still yelling at you. Once that feedback stops, the coach has given up. Our clients are often surprised to learn that they rarely hear from dissatisfied customers.
Customer feedback is critical in customer retention. Elavon, a provider of end to end payment processing services for their customers, is a good example. For companies like Elavon, retaining existing customers, especially their higher-volume customers is critical to their success. Using a variety of tools, Elavon was able to identify the roughly 20% of their customer service callers considered “At Risk” customers. Once these “At risk” customers were identified, Elevon took a proactive approach to engage each customer and collaborate around providing the customer with a solution.
“After (implementation), Elavon saved nearly 600 accounts—about $1.7 million in revenue—in the first three months alone.”
— Roman Trebon, Business Review Manager, Speech Analytics, Elavon
Most successful companies understand that customer feedback is critical to engagement, retention, loyalty, and ultimately margin.
The book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team acknowledges that “when people don’t unload their opinions and feel like they have been listen to, they won’t really get on board”. The first step is to begin the conversation. Here are 3 things that companies can do to bring customers into the conversation and engage them as part of the team:
- Always be receptive and responsive to feedback. Regardless of the timing or channel, organizations who are prepared to receive and acknowledge customer feedback will have more loyal and engaged customers.
- Create an environment built on trust. This means when asking for feedback, clearly state why you want the feedback and what you intend to do with it.
- Empower customer service teams to solve problems and seek feedback simultaneously.
Companies like Elavon have made a conscious effort to include their customer as a member of their team. In doing so, they are able to sustain growth, increase market share, and assume a leadership position within their industry.
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