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Who told you your top customers were happy?

Everyone knows how important it is to regularly seek and act on  customer feedback. B2B research shows that most organisations lose around half of their clients every five years and winning new clients can be up to 20 times more expensive than retaining existing ones.

A best practice approach to customer surveys should include two important elements – customer segmentation and multiple perspectives.

One size does not fit all

customer survey should not be one-size-fits-all. A successful customer research project will ask the right person the right questions, using the right methodology in the most appropriate way. Customer survey results that are segmented by annual revenue, type of product or service supplied, extent of profitability achieved; will be more relevant and meaningful. This will ensure improvement plans are more focussed and effective.

Many of our clients report that around 80% of their profit comes from just 20% or less of their customers; the old 80-20 principle. Applying this rule, a customer survey should separate your most important customers from the others and treat them differently throughout the entire process. Special customers could be interviewed in person or over the phone to capture critical information and secure a high response rate. Smaller and less profitable customers might simply be emailed an online survey to complete. Further in-depth interviews after the survey can add more insights by helping to explain survey results.

Seek multiple perspectives

It’s important to get different perspectives when gathering and acting on customer feedback. A client’s CEO may have very different views of your organisation compared to the end user. A variety of perspectives will maximise the strategic value from a customer survey and provide deeper insights. You could also do a survey of your own employees who are at the coalface to gather their perspectives in relation to how your systems and processes support your customers better than anyone. Employee surveys with a customer component can complement customer survey results and provide a rounded view of your customers’ experiences.

Insights from a customer survey that incorporate segmentation and multiple perspectives can translate into more focussed and effective action plans for retaining your most valuable clients.

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