It’s hard to believe that we are in the final quarter of the year. If you haven’t already, we expect you will soon begin your 2022 planning. Are you including the voice of your customer in that planning?
Client Quality Assessments (CQAs) provide an opportunity for you to understand what is most important to your clients and ensure that your business is providing real value. Customer insights will validate your assumptions and help you focus on those areas of most benefit, and the most profitable.
CQAs can also provide value to your clients and improve their satisfaction. Incorporating validated needs and wants into your planning will result in an improved product or service that better supports their businesses.
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.” - Peter Drucker
At ML, we regularly conduct CQAs, both within our customer base as well as on behalf of our clients. In this month’s blog, we share three tips for conducting CQAs that will positively impact your 2022 planning.
Three Tips for Conducting Client Quality Assessments that will Positively Impact Your 2022 Planning
1. Be Intentional
It is important to be clear about the purpose of your CQA and the insights you are hoping to gain. This is a critical first step to ensure you build an effective program and collect the right data that will best assist you with your strategic planning.
Some examples of CQA goals
- Measure client satisfaction / net promoter scores (NPS)
- Identify areas that need immediate action
- Understand decision-making criteria
- Validate appetite for product functionality
- Obtain quotes from satisfied customers to support sales and marketing efforts
Consider how the process and the feedback might also benefit your customers. Offer to share portions of the results with them so that they can see how their feedback created value and which they might potentially incorporate into their planning.
2. Be Conversational During Customer Outreach
Once you have determined the purpose of your CQA, build an effective customer outreach program that makes the most of the valuable time your customers are willing to share.
Create an ongoing conversation. Ideally, you are conducting CQAs regularly, perhaps once a quarter, or once a year. This historical data will allow you to spot trends and react to them quickly.
ML has found that questionnaires with 10-15 questions and interviews that run between 15 and 20 minutes are the most beneficial.
Consider customizing questionnaires based on categories of interviewees. For instance, the insights you can learn from an end-user will be vastly different from the executive sponsor who has a view into how your product or service impacts business operations.
ML finds that client interviews conducted by phone rather than electronically garner a much higher completion rate.
The opportunity to speak directly to customers one-on-one provides a way to probe responses to reveal a far more robust view of the customers’ perceptions. The two-way interaction between the customer and interviewer is generally viewed as a more positive customer service-oriented approach than a sterile one-way interaction with an electronic form.
When engaged with your interviewee, spend less time talking and more time listening. Don’t be afraid to stray a bit from the original questionnaire if the intel being shared by your interviewee is valuable.
“We always include an opportunity for our interviewees to share additional information beyond what was covered in the questionnaire. This is my favorite part of the interview as it almost always uncovers intel that we weren’t expecting, which is often really valuable.” Joanne Strobert, Executive Interviewer
3. Be Proactive
The intel you gather is the reason you conduct the program in the first place so be sure you are managing it properly to ensure it benefits you as well as your customers.
At ML, we aggregate all the data collected from the interviews into reports that summarize what we learned. Our interviewers capture all the responses, quantitative measures as well as verbatim comments, in HubSpot. This allows the stakeholders to see a dashboard in real-time of key data points as they are being collected. Our Data Managers then extract that same data and do an aggregate analysis to provide a picture of customer perception. Our reports also focus on calling out trends and making recommendations for any areas of weakness that need attention, as well as strengths that can be leveraged.
Recently, a colleague responded to an electronic survey from one of her banks. She always welcomes an opportunity to provide input. However, what was intended to improve service and customer satisfaction actually resulted in a negative experience. This particular bank sends out a survey after almost every transaction and because they keep asking her the same questions, the process reminds her of their shortcomings, and because they do not take any action on previous responses, it creates frustration and a feeling that her voice is not being heard, and her time wasted.
Investing time now to listen to the Voice of the Customer can be an invaluable tool to help you prepare for 2022. You can learn more about Client Quality Assessments and read real-life examples of the benefits others have received by downloading our Voice of the Customer overview. Or feel free to reach out. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you!