Last week a young man called from our telecomms provider, introducing himself as our account manager. He already had my email address and said that he would be sending over his contact details together with news about how they [the telecomms provider] from now on would be checking our bill every month to make sure that we were on the best tariff. He also enquired about our land lines (supplied by another firm) and said that he’d put a bid together to win that business from us, and would ring back on Friday.
I’d been satisfied with the service we’d been getting, but this young man had just raised the bar; he’d set new expectations and I was, if not “excited”, at least interested.
What happened then? Well, actually, nothing happened. I don’t even remember his name, so I can’t even call back. And I’m disappointed.
You could plot my emotions and subsequent satisfaction levels on a chart.
This young man has been employed, probably a no small cost, to do a job. And the net outcome is the reverse of that objective.
Which brings me on to B2B customer satisfaction surveys.
If you are planning to carry out a customer satisfaction survey just stop for a minute. Think about what you and your senior team (yes, everyone; from finance, operations, logistics and technical support as well as sales and customer service) are going to do afterwards. Is this just an exercise, something that needs to be done in order to get a tick in the box for your Quality Assurance Certificate? Or a “good idea” that has come down from the parent company? And do you feel that your company is lacking the wherewithal, the resources and the driving ambition to do something once the results come in?
Please be honest about this. If the answer is “Yes” then please, don’t do a survey.
If you do run a survey then you are raising the bar with your customers – setting an expectation that you will listen to them and then act on their feedback. Once you’ve set the expectation then the result will never be neutral, and doing nothing on the back of the feedback will have a negative impact on your satisfaction levels which, in turn, will impact your top and bottom lines.