How to Give Your Customer a Seat in the Boardroom

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Creating a customer-centric culture is increasingly important in the business world but, according to industry research, only 2% of companies are reaching the highest level of customer experience maturity. Many companies collect data from surveys, call centers, social media and other sources … but only top marketers actually integrate and apply that information to improve products, services and processes. That in turn increases customer satisfaction, which has been proven to reduce spend in service operations by as much as 60%!

Are you truly listening to what your customers are saying and actually inviting them into the boardroom? In order to create value from your customer’s feedback and give them a seat in your boardroom, follow these four steps.

1. Give your customer a voice by listening to all possible channels. Many companies hesitate when it comes to obtaining feedback from their customers … but unless you take the initiative to ask customers what they think, you will be unable to form long-lasting relationships. You must create the channels and platforms that make it easy for customers to engage; a living dialogue is the centerpiece of a loyal customer. Make sure you identify and create various channels of communications (i.e. email, chat, in-store survey, blogs, Twitter, etc.).

2. Aggregate the voice to uncover themes, combining both structured and unstructured feedback. Social data tends to be more positive and customer care data skews highly negative. Dig into all of these sources of data to find out what customers really think.

The best organizations work to truly understand the customer’s opinions and thoughts, but it’s not easy to manually read through hundreds of thousands of customer feedback records. So what’s the solution? You have to fully understand your customer’s voice, listen to them in aggregate and look for context and themes. By understanding the tone, background and entire situation of the conversation, you eliminate prejudice and fully comprehend the true meaning of feedback.

3. Activate the voice, working with each business unit across your organization. Use your aggregated feedback to drive real organizational change. To do this, you must ensure you have a complete understanding of your data. One idea is to offer your teams a combination of near real-time reporting with a consultative approach. Meet proactively with all teams affected by topics revealed by your data. Once you have this plan in action, follow up consistently to measure the team’s progress and to gauge results.

4. Update the customer and let them know how they helped improve your business. Many organizations take action based on their customer’s feedback, but one of the biggest errors is they fail to inform their customers how their feedback helped their business improve. It’s important to engage with your customer through the whole process – customers want to feel that they are not only being heard, but that their opinions are making a difference. Although you can’t change everyone’s opinion on your product or service, many customers will have a better opinion if you simply acknowledge their feedback. Customers will feel empowered that they have played an active role in influencing your organization, but more importantly, they will reward you with ongoing loyalty.

If you follow these steps and truly listen to the voice of your customer, your organization will begin to see change. Don’t hesitate to give your customers a seat at the boardroom — they may be the missing link for improving your company’s success.

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