With everything else going on in a business, customers often fall to the bottom of the pile. It is an understandable outcome, but one that will damage your business. With simple fixes, you can keep customers at the top of everyone's mind and capitalise on the feedback you get from them.
A retail turnaround specialist recently told me that I am ‘doing Brand Management’. I wasn’t convinced – at first. As he explained the synergies between my speciality in customer experience and the role of a Brand Manager. He drew this diagram:
Brand managers take customers through a customer journey – from awareness to, fingers crossed, repeated use. Traditionally, they ask for feedback during development. When marketing a product or service, they promise satisfaction. And sales data shows whether customers like the product. However, as consumers become more empowered and B2B buyers behave more like consumers, Brand Managers also have to look to engagement techniques such as online chat and regular performance reviews, social media and review sites.
But somewhere along the way
Many organisations stop listening to the voice of the customer and miss two important opportunities:
- Increasing the product or service lifecycle.
- Building requirements for the next generation of products and services.
Both of which are part of the job of a brand manager. How can a business brand manager stay on top of customer feedback and use it effectively? We saw the importance of a clear flow of information and accountability in this post. But that begs the question – what information?
How to generate data to influence your brand, product, service or business strategy
- Direct feedback – if your customer services team is not recording information about problems you can’t fix them. (See record analyse cycle in this blog).
- Home trials – ask people from your target demographic to use your service and feedback.
- Secret shopping – get feedback through an impartial third party.
- Surveys and questionnaires.
- Online feedback.
The first and last have two big advantages over the more traditional methods. They are quick and they are cheap.
Of course, they also have problems. For example, online reviews can be fake. But if you analyse the data honestly that is not a problem in this context.
Unfortunately, too many people are happy to dismiss customer services as a data source. But engaging your customer-facing staff can yield improve employee satisfaction. With good facilitation and analysis, you probably have no better way of understanding the realities of your customer journey.