One of the main complaints I hear from new customers is often: ‘I’ve been told to run feedback systems, but they don’t really work: I don’t get very much feedback, and the feedback I get usually tells me what I already know.
In an earlier blog and podcast, we discussed and explained how to solve this problem, and how to create feedback systems that actually work, so we won’t repeat ourselves here, but here are some ideas of measures that you can use in a small business to engage your people, empower your customer and really start to move things forward.
There are, of course, many other measures that can be used to help you continually go the extra inch with your consistent and continually improving customer experience, and here are some suggestions to help you:
- Customer Effort Score: how much effort does it take a customer to either tell you about something that’s not right, or buy something from you?
- This score is a good predictor of customer loyalty, and of course, the lower the score the better.
- Research suggests that about 90% of customers who’ve had to expend higher effort than anticipated to do either of the actions above, will buy from someone else next time (and tell their friends to do the same)
- Some things you can do to make up a ‘customer effort score’ include:
- Measuring customer hold time
- Measuring speed of resolution / % of 1st contact resolution
- Assessing traffic flow across your sales processes and looking for bottlenecks
- Customer repeat sales data / customer churn data
- Simple feedback of ‘how easy’ was it to do X Y Z …
- Customer Loyalty Score: a simple score of average length of customer loyalty
- Referrals score: the % or number of referrals achieved (for a more detailed exploration of reputation and referral system, please see my books ‘Slow Selling’ and ‘The Reputation Book’)
- Recruitment: if you find it hard to recruit great people, then you’re probably not super attractive. When John Lewis opened a store near us recently, they had over 10 applicants for every job – and 70% of these people were already in a job – so a great ‘Great or Poor Score’ of your offer to internal and external customers is your recruitment score: how many applicants you get for any vacancy … and indeed whether you ever need to advertise any vacancy or not because you have a ‘waiting list’ of people desperate to work with you.
- Transfer rate: one of the main customer annoyances is the inability of a problem or question to be resolved at first contact. This affects ‘customer effort’ and again reduces customer retention. It’s also a big issue for your people: if they feel unempowered to resolve things at first contact, they will be less motivated and less energised.
- Some things you can do to measure and influence this include:
- Personal feedback from your people (preferably using an independent 3rd party) to listen to their views on empowerment and customer effort (in fact, having a system like this in place can be a hugely powerful ‘go the extra inch’ process at the very heart of your strategy, processes and behaviours. It can be done by a 3rd party quarterly, 6 monthly or annually, depending on your needs, and this is a very popular service we perform regularly for our clients).
- Active contact resolution: to identify the areas where there was a need for a call back, one by one and to start to go the extra inch on
- What caused the issue, and
- What caused the call back.
- Remember: the issue will always be one of 3 things:
- Systems: The systems took the customer to the wrong place, or there wasn’t a system in place to allow adequate information sharing, etc
- Training: people haven’t been trained what to do in these circumstances
- Behaviour: something stopped the person behaving in the way we set the systems up and trained them in
- And all of these can be developed and changed inch by inch
- Personal feedback from your people: as outlined above. Also remember that this feedback will help you identify all gaps in strategy, processes, behaviour and measures. On top of this, if your people are engaged, energised and consulted on your C&CI CX, it’s highly likely that they’ll want to act in a knowledgeable, frie3ndly and helpful way in your business: after all, as your business grows, you’re totally dependent on them and how they act.
- Basic feedback will be something like: from your point of view and from your customer’s, what do you think works particularly well, what perhaps could be better, and what would you do differently if you were in charge?
- More in-depth questions could include:
- How good is your knowledge to easily solve any issues that come your way?
- How effective and helpful are the tools you have?
- How well do your skills fit with what you are asked to do?
- How empowered do you feel to resolve a customer’s issue first time every time?
- How happy and fulfilled do you feel in general in your job?
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV = Average Purchase Amount X Average Purchase Rate X Average Customer Lifespan
- As you can see, this can be increased by:
- Increasing purchase amount
- Increasing purchase rate
- And increasing customer lifespan
- The first two measures can be influenced by short term marketing tools like offers and deals, but the only thing that will affect ALL these measures, consistently and continually, is the Great or Poor system…
- What you can do is: work out the average value of one happy customer (see below) and the average cost of one unhappy customer (including the negative reputation they’ll spread) and ensure everyone’s aware of this.
- Then measure and incentivise everyone to increase the CLV in your business.
All of these measures are what we call ‘Lead measures’: they’re measures of activities and situations that predict future success before it’s happened, so you can take action today to maximise opportunities, minimise problems and exploit new ideas.
Remember: what gets measured gets done: so if you have the right measures in your business and you use them in the right way, then success is simply a matter of time and persistence.
Yet, the sad truth is that this is new information to most business owners (what DO they teach at business school???).
So, some action you can take from this information is to:
- Read my earlier blog on how to make feedback more effective.
- Start putting some of these ‘lead measures’ into your business step by step: remember, take it slowly and do it properly: far better to have ONE measure that’s working excellently, rather than 6 that have little or no effect.
- Contact us for our free ebook: ‘How to create feedback systems and people measures that actually work’
- Contact us to spend a few hours in your business looking at your measures and putting a simple step by step plan together for you to put in place a measurement system that energises and engages your people … and makes you irresistibly attractive to new customers, step by step!
Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.
Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.
To find out more, please click here