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I was recently listening to Stephen Covey's "7 Habits for Managers" on the way to the office. When he shared his principle "Start with the End in Mind" I knew I had to write this article.
Every week I find myself in conversations with clients or prospects who are struggling with the same problem: They cannot figure out how to show the financial value of improving the customer experience. I remember struggling with this same question early in my career. It can be challenging, as a service professional, to read or listen to customer feedback and not become so emotionally engaged that you just want to solve the problem for the customer. But, solving every problem is not the answer, nor is it profitable.
I typically ask three questions in response to the claim that a client or prospect cannot show financial value for improved customer experience.
The first question I ask is this, "Did you segment the feedback and isolate customers who reduced or terminated their relationship with you?"
Most leaders never get past this first question. They admit that they spent their time reading every piece of feedback from every customer, no matter what the customer's behavior after the feedback was. So, the leader has no idea if the "problem" they have identified is actually causing customers to reduce or end their relationship with the company.
Based on my experience, this is where companies need to start their customer feedback analysis. Leaders should first identify a group of customers who have actually terminated their relationship. Then the company should identify the top 5 themes in the commentary (i.e. sales calls, emails, surveys, etc.) they received from those customers weeks or even months before the sales waned. Through this process the leader can develop an understanding of the correlation of problems that potentially lead to the loss of customers.
Leaders that focus their inquiry and efforts on resolving these issues have little challenge with building a case for investment because they can show either a high correlation or a cause of attrition related to the customers' experiences.
In the next segment, I will share my second question. It takes a similar approach, but is often neglected by companies that analyze their customer feedback.