Should be continually solicited and monitored: Customer Feedback should be continuously solicited as customer preferences keep on changing. Let us remember those days when the original red Lifebuoy was selling like hot cake. Now people’s preferences have changed. The organization has come up with many variations of Lifebuoy. The basic USP remains the same, ‘health and hygiene’ but concepts of, beauty and healthy skin is thrown in to satisfy the changed customer needs.
Purpose of Feedback:
Discover Customer Dissatisfaction: The feedback helps to know how satisfied or dissatisfied the customer is. A customer who does not complain and switches to another brand is more dangerous than a customer who complains. Customer dissatisfaction can be a big eye opener and help discover what more needs to be done for a product or service.
Discover Relative Priorities of Quality: Certain parameters of quality are more important than others. Whenever planning for a quality goal the organization should prioritize its goals.
Compare Performance With Competition: Watching competitor activity is a good learning tool for any organization. This is a way of benchmarking us vis-à-vis others.
Identify Customer’s Needs: There is a saying that salesman who discovers a customer need before everyone else is more likely to get the sales. The same logic holds for organizations as well. You can always reap the benefits of first mover advantage. Let us take example of Frooti. Probably Frooti is the first brand to identify the Indian taste and to make an effort to cater to that taste. No matter how many drinks with mango flavour has come Frooti remains the numero uno in its segment.
Determine Opportunities for Improvement: Customer feedback also helps an organization in determining about opportunities for improvement.
Tools of Customer Feedback:
- Comment Card: This can have simple open questions so that customer can answer it quickly.
- Customer Questionnaire: Design of questionnaire is of utmost importance to get timely and relevant information.
- Focus Groups: Focus groups are mostly used in B2B set up. Especially in pharmaceuticals industry, key opinion makers are made part of the trial. Their opinion holds sway over doctors of hinterland. It helps them get a word to mouth publicity as well.
- Toll Free Telephone Numbers
- Customer Visits
- Report Cards
- Social Networking Sites: There are certain sites where visitors can share good or bad experience with a product or service. These sites give real insight into customer’s minds. On other social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, people share their experiences and sometimes, unknowingly may give opinion about a company. Now certain companies are having devoted teams to analyse these data.
- Employee Feedback:
- Mass Customization: Mass customization is another good tool to know about changed preferences. Levi’s gives a facility on its website which enables a potential customer to choose certain fabric, colour and design. Once the customer places an order Levi’s gets the jeans stitched and delivered at customer’s doorstep.
How to Use Customer Feedback:
- Thank for the feedback.
- Listen the complaint
- Solve the complaint
- Retain by solving the problem
- Regain lost customers
Identify Each Market Segment: Each market segment has its own dynamics, so customer needs tend to vary as per a market segment. For example in a diverse country like India, customers of north India will have different needs compared to those in south India.
Write Down The Requirements: A very good example of chalking out requirements of a particular market is shown during recent launch of a dark chocolate brand by Cadbury’s in India. India is hot country so selling dark chocolates has its own issue of logistics management. Cadbury’s is supplying these chocolates in insulated boxes to key retailers so that customer can get the right quality of chocolate.
Communicate The Requirements: Communicating your quality requirements is a way of convincing the front line people so that they will implement everything as per the original plan. Around 2000 the pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer launched a hepatitis-B vaccine. The product needed to be supplied through cold chain upto the vaccination point. All personnel in sales force were properly educated on this issue to ensure proper implementation of cold chain. This ensured that the product reached the end user at right temperature to provide desired efficacy.
Organize Processes: Every process should be well organized to ensure optimum output and resultant benefit to the customer.
- Meet Expectations
- Get the customer’s point of view
- Deliver what is promised
- Make the Customer feel valued
- Respond to all complaints
- Over Respond to the customer
- Provide a clean and comfortable customer reception area
- Trade off between time and personal attention
- Minimize the number of contact points
- Provide pleasant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic employees
- Write documents in customer friendly language
Front Line People
- Hire people who like people
- Challenge them to develop better methods
- Give them authority to solve problems
- Serve them as internal customers
- Be sure they are adequately trained
- Recognize and Reward Performance
- Lead by example
- Listen to the front line people
- Strive for continuous process improvement
Kano Model is very interesting depiction of how an unsatisfied customer can be turned to a satisfied customer by properly implementing quality goals. In bottom left quadrant lies the most unsatisfied customer. This can be because of many reasons. The product is not fulfilling customer need or the product is not matching his expectations. When the customer moves to the bottom right quadrant then he is just a mute buyer of the product. He may be buying the product because that is his necessity. The product is just fulfilling certain basic needs of the customer. This can be compared by how customers must have been feeling when Bajaj scooter was the only major brand available in the Indian market. People had to choose from some very basic models like Bajaj Chetak, Rajdoot and Yezdi. Then came the onslaught of 100 cc bike. This gave more convenience to customers. In the late nineties many models arrived on the scene and some of them gave real customer delight taking the customer to the top left quadrant of the Kano model.