How Do You Build an Improvement Plan Around Yellow?


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For some time, it’s been popular to simplify the customer feedback reporting process to three colors: Red, Yellow and Green. If it works for traffic signals, why wouldn’t it work for customer feedback?

Green is great. Green means no worries, no improvement needed, a customer you can count on. Unless you are gathering inaccurate information, asking the wrong questions to the wrong people – the people who are your friends instead of your foes, your allies instead of your adversaries, the people you already know instead of the people you want to know. Maybe things are fine, or maybe not.

Yellow represents caution and opportunity. Yellow means potential storm clouds are brewing, problems exist. Yellow means make the correct improvements completely and immediately. Yellow says fix this account before things get worse. Yellow means save this customer; allocate your scarce resources effectively; fix the problem now, or the color will turn to….

Red. An at-risk customer who is probably moving down the path of finding an alternative supplier or likely has already found one – but has not yet told you about their decision. Red accounts usually land on the senior executive’s desk. Red accounts demand immediate decisive action. Red accounts cause sleepless nights, missed forecasts, indigestion. Red is trouble.

Here is the question: If you are using a customer feedback system that reports customer status using colors, are you getting the precise, detailed and actionable information you need to make effective improvements now before yellow customers become red?

Originally posted by Gary Gerds, Managing Partner of E.G. Insight at

Nick Wassenberg
E.G. Insight helps companies listen to their customers. We work with mostly Fortune 1 B2B companies, like industrial manufacturers, engineering/construction firms, health care and insurance providers, among others. We help our client implement customized methods to capture in-depth feedback from critical business relationships. My role at E.G. Insight is to tell the story that's found in customers' feedback and help our clients take action. So, I'm a customer feedback analyst, ombudsman, and marketing metrics geek.


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