Does every organization need to tap customer satisfaction?

How important is it to your organization that your customers are satisfied?  Does it matter?  Really?    Current thinking is that customer satisfaction is at the core of commercial success.

But, that may not always be true:

  • In some markets customers may not have much choice, especially if there is a monopoly or there are high barriers to enter.

  • In some cases, customers are willing to accept inferior satisfaction because there are off-setting factors, most commonly because of a low price.

  • And, sometimes there is inertia where the time and effort to change suppliers outweighs the dissatisfaction.

But, these are short-sighted views, and we don't recommend this approach.  Markets can change quickly, and in the future this direction may suffer from a lack of goodwill.  In most markets customer satisfaction matters a great deal, as it directly impacts loyalty, sales, and the bottom line.

So, it is important for every organization to have a client satisfaction program - and even better when conducted by a neutral, third party.

 

Voice Of Customer...(or the Real Reasons to Give Your Customer a Seat at the Table)

“So why exactly would I invest in this customer perception work?” 

It’s a question we’ve heard quite often.  For more than 20 years, we’ve conducted research to help our clients learn what their customers really think.   We can tell you what tangible benefits clients like best.   It varies by job function.

Top Management likes the unvarnished.  C-level leaders understand retention and know it costs 6-7 times more to gain a new client than to keep an existing one, so the identification of accounts at risk is of great interest.  And the unfiltered view, particularly of decision-makers at key accounts, is most valued.

Sales Force members uses the data in their 1 year and 3 year planning.  Yes, it identifies accounts at risk but also accounts with greatest potential for up-sale or added products /services.

Operations:  Clients are in the best possible position to identify process problems before the trouble “bubbles up” to mid/upper-management visibility.   And, with repeated surveys, they can document their actions to correct systemic problems clients are experiencing. 

Our clients have found, time and again, that giving your customer a seat at the table is just good business.   Want to learn more?  Contact Terri Heath at theath@sergesketter.com  or 847.446.4975.

Customer-Centric Marketing... and Google

We read a lot. 
This week we came across a really great quote from Google's Sr. VP of Global Marketing, Lorraine Twohill:  " I think that (listening) should be marketing’s role in the company—to really be the champion of the consumer, the face of the user internally, and the guardian of the user’s best interests and the user’s needs."
 
Her point being that when we really listen we pick up on pain points that turn into meaningful innovation and, ultimately, revenue.

Begs the question... how well do you listen?  What formal and informal processes are in place to really listen to the consumer, above the everyday din? 
 
Surveys are great ways to listen.   Contact Terri Heath to learn more at theath@sergesketter.com or 847.441.4975.
 
To read McKinsey's entire interview of Twohill : http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/how_google_breaks_through

Buying Criteria & Marketing Surveys

 

Making the ‘short list’ but not closing the deal?  There’s no silver medal.

There’s the customer’s ‘Dear Santa’ list… which is usually rather long.  Then there’s the handful criteria that determines who actually wins.  

In 12 years of interviewing industry leaders on our clients' behalf, we've found our clients accurately identify the decision-makers' top 5 buying criteria...60% of the time.  But then, probably so does their competition. 

To have the best shot at closing the deal, you need to know those top 5 buying criteria!   The best way to do that?  Survey!  Current customers.  Former customers.  Prospects.
And if you really want honesty… not just what clients think you want to hear…have a 3rd party design and execute the survey.

To learn more about Buying Criteria Survey design, contact Terri Heath 847.446.4975 or email theath@sergesketter.com 

 

Customer Satisfaction... and the Words You Choose

You’ve likely heard ‘smile when you dial’ or the importance of mustering a positive attitude when interacting with customers.  This week we ran across a short slide show that takes that it a step further and addresses the actual verbiage you use… and how to improve it.   Good advice, not just for sales agents, but for anyone in your firm who interfaces with your clients. 

Check it out at http://www.slideshare.net/kayakocom/the-art-of-talking-happy

On the topic of customer satisfaction, how satisfied are your customers? How do you know?   For professionally crafted and executed surveys that will provide you with unfiltered information so you can learn who’s delighted, who’s at risk, and what your customers want you to improve in 2015, contact Terri Heath at theath@sergesketter.com or 847.446.4975.

Google's Penguin 3.0 Algorithm... and You

As we start a new year, clients with new SEO budgets start asking SEO questions.   Well, here’s some freebie advice for all!

Google launched a new algorithm, Penguin 3.0 last October, so make sure your site is optimized to this new filter.   The changes in this new version are directed at penalizing those that violate Google approved back link policies. So check those links!

Outbound links that lead to “link networks,” or basically sites that effectively exist simply to link out to other sites, should be removed from your content.   You don’t want your site connected to one that exists for link-selling purposes.  

Some industry experts also note that blog “networks” may be a target of this new Google filter, especially  when bloggers monetize their site by selling links…and they own more than one site where those links show-up.  Bloggers are a great source of legitimate links, but be aware of how they are linking to your site.

Exact match anchor text is another No-No that Penguin 3.0 identifies.   While some SEO consultants have been selling this for a few years now (with your content’s link is a suspicious exact match for a hot search keyword) apparently the artificial nature of exact match anchor text has put it on Google’s black list.  And you don’t want to go there.

So audit your links.  (Or use one of the many link research tools available online). Edit out the fringe, possibly-questionable. Beef up the legitimate ones, remembering Google’s stated guideline  “ We don’t want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural.”    

Why Should You Bother Writing a White Paper? To Increase Sales!

A well written white paper can be a truly powerful sales tool.   In the sales process, white papers:

Generate Leads - Individuals willing to trade their contact info for a paper in your area of expertise is often a qualified lead.  For example, IT Directors download an average of 30 white papers a year, granting you great exposure to this critical audience.

Shape the RFP - Forget a level playing field. You want one slanted in your favor.  Offer expertise on what should be in an RFP.  The first phase in any RFP process is information gathering in order to write the RFP. White papers have heavy play here.

Advance the sales cycle - The longer the sales cycle the more likely white papers are part of it.   Touches to reconnect, elaboration on key buying criteria, and offering ongoing expertise can keep your sales team in the game and help you win it in the long run.