Knowing your Customers

I have been the UK MD of InfoQuest for eleven years now. InfoQuest specialises in B2B customer satisfaction surveys for medium and large businesses. We encourage our clients to choose their most important customers for the survey process – through a mix of revenue, profitability and potential additional sales – which would typically be “looked after” by Key Account Managers (KAMs).

We would expect KAMs to have a maximum of 25 accounts – any more and the relationships would be diluted to less than meaningful.

Before we send out our “survey in a box”, we validate the customer list that our client has given us by telephoning the customers. In the ‘phone call we check three things: –

1. Have they received a letter from our client introducing and explaining the survey?

2. Are they willing to take part in this exercise? And

3. Have we got the correct contact details – spelling of their name, job title and mailing address?

The arguments for this being a simple and straightforward task are strong: –

  • This is a list of the client’s most valuable asset.
  • Everyone has a CRM system of one sort or another, so the data should be there.
  • It’s the KAM’s lifeblood to know who’s who at the customers.

So why is it that I’ve yet to see an entirely accurate customer list?

Or, put it another way, 90% of the customer lists that I see are faulty by at least one record in every five [“faulty” could mean Dr instead of Mr; Mr instead of Mrs (!); Jim instead of James; Caldwell instead of Coldwell; wrong or missing job titles; and wrong postal addresses].

As a business person, what do you feel about this?

John Coldwell

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