Edition 07

ALERD: The new paradigm in dynamic customer surveying.

26th September 2009 By Micheal Leander Nielsen no comments

Ask, Listen, Evaluate Response, Dialogue!

Innovative players across such industries as banking, insurance, financial services, publishing, media, telecom and utilities are opting out of the old fashioned static customer surveying to take advantage of the new paradigm in live dynamic and action-oriented customer surveying.  In this introduction to ALERD, Michael Leander Nielsen takes a brief look at the phenomenon, which in turn, will become a critical component in intelligent companies’ quest to increase their customers’ experience.

The common practice over the past few decades
Companies survey customer loyalty and/or customer satisfaction 1-2 times per year. Typically, companies respond to aggregated survey results after a two to three month delay - if at all - providing little or no real impact on the individual customer’s experience and often, with little or no chance of fixing what might have been broken in their relationships with their unsatisfied customers. Furthermore, because customers are approached weeks or months after the actual experience took place, many do not actually remember the specifics of the experience that they are being asked to evaluate, which in turn, seriously reduces the validity of the customer survey results.

This common practice represents a methodology which has been in use for, literally, decades. With customer satisfaction survey results and reports serving as a mere “historic matter of fact/matter of status,” they obviously are not very actionable.

While you might like to think they are actionable, since you can probably identify areas of improvement, areas of opportunity, and customer preferences, you are not very likely to be able to leverage that type of traditional reporting to the individual customers’ advantage - let alone use these survey results to work with and coach your Customer Service teams and other players acting as customer touch - points

If customer surveys are important to assess your customers’ loyalty and/or customer satisfaction, consider your next steps

My take on this is:
Traditional, periodic measuring and reporting techniques on key performance indicators that relate to customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience are not advantageous when compared to new alternatives. Not only do they lag behind crucial timeframes required for a response (the time between when you ask the questions to the time that you are able to react to the actual data), but also due to the accumulated nature of reporting data. More often than not, companies survey their customers months after the actual experience took place.

So, in order to get ahead, you need to consider these two steps:

1.    Implement live measurement.
2.    Consider opting out of anonymous measurements to the more advantageous non - anonymous measurements, which, if appropriate, could open up a kaleidoscope of new opportunities.

Future practices already implemented by a few highly - professional players
Companies want to survey customers experiences, loyalty, satisfaction and preferences LIVE to be able to immediately respond to them in a meaningful way. In doing so, they gradually build a practice that provides relevant and loyalty - building answers to customers’ survey responses as well as being able to immediately correct and/or improve customer experience right in the Customer Service Center and at all other customer touch points.

While most executives and marketers at management level agree that the customer experience is the area that concerns them the most, very few have taken concrete steps to proactively correct or improve the customer experience.  Many will admit that the current measurement practice is outdated and that there is a real need to apply a more dynamic (live) concept to the measuring of customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and campaign effectiveness when respondents interact with company touch points as well as improving the overall customer experience.

What marketers need to consider - Step 1
The current trend is that leading companies across many industries want to measure the customer experience (and customer satisfaction/ customer loyalty) in REAL TIME. In other words, companies understand the importance of being able to hear about customers’ experience within minutes or hours of their experience rather than the more common practice which causes a significant delay of weeks or even months.

Regardless of your industry, if you currently have more than twenty thousand customers, you need to realize the importance of understanding how well your company meets the expectations of your customers.  And you must measure your customers more frequently; one or two sampling based surveys, per year, simply does not do the job.

Companies need to be able to monitor their own performance, if not monthly, then at least quarterly. Moreover, companies need actionable output to coach their employees who are working on the phones, at answering email, chat boxes, or through any other customer touch points.

What marketers need to consider - Step 2
Once a live (continuous) measurement and survey has been implemented across all contact points, it is time to decide how you to respond to what your customers are telling you. This requires you to implement surveys and measurements in which the individual respondents are no longer anonymous in order to initiate actions and responses to their answers to your surveys and measurements.

While many industries might not think it is feasible to implement these non - anonymous measurements, and while it might not be feasible in some parts of the world due to obstacles related to technology, local legislation or the CRM and telephony setup of your company, I urge you to consider this measure.

Read part 2 of this article in Return on Behavior Magazine #8. If you are currently not subscribing to Return on Behavior Magazine, sign-up here - it’s free

About the author: Micheal Leander Nielsen


Michael Leander Nielsen, CEO of Fokus Integrated, is a customer lifecycle marketing automation expert  and a marketing innovator. He is also an author and a speaker on subjects such as marketing automation, marketing performance metrics, customer strategies and effective internet marketing strategies. More information about Michael Leander Nielsen:

Meemoo2 - A blog for Marketing managers

Marketingboss TV Channel - hundreds of edutaining, educating, inspirational videos and films

With more than 20 years of managerial and operational experience from three continents, Danish born Michael Leander Nielsen is an integrated marketing expert and a marketing innovator. 

Today he spends his time with ambitious companies and organizations, providing consulting services in a range of specialised marketing fields. He is an expert in the fields of integrated marketing, marketing automation and productivity programs, internet marketing, push and pull strategies, lead relationship management strategies, customer experience strategies and strategies for growth and internationalization.

From newspapers to marketing, internet and CRM
Ever since his first “real job” soliciting subscriptions to The Delray and Boynton Beach News Journal door-to-door in sunny Florida, his career has included some 10 years in the marketing/publishing industry, and approximately 10 years in the IT software and IT distribution industry. 

Combining experience from the client side and the consulting/agency side, and having consulted to major-league clients across a variety of industries, Michael is a highly insightful, innovative and productive top-level marketing consultant.

Speaker, educator and mentor
He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences, written hundreds of articles, lectured at numerous educational institutions, and is frequently quoted in leading marketing and IT industry publications in several countries.  Moreover, he proudly assists talented entrepreneurs in a capacity as board and/or advisory board member to share his experience in a mentor capacity. Check out his upcoming speaking engagements here 

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