Tag Archives: customer satisfaction surveys

Reaching key clients is essential in B2B marketing

Business to business (B2B) is all about relationships between enterprises. The small number of clients these types of businesses typically have mean building strong partnerships with companies is the best way to protect your interests. You need to show customers that they are important to you and take their opinions into account. Asking them how they feel about your business and what you can do to improve is a great way to build a strong foundation. It also helps to show them how their feedback is used and the importance you place in their satisfaction.

Finding out what each client thinks can be very difficult. Many of the customers in B2B relationships are highly placed individuals who are very difficult to contact. It is also likely that your customers will include several people from the same organisation. In many cases you will discover that the contact details you have are inaccurate and outdated. This makes it difficult to get in touch with clients to find out their opinions.

logoAt InfoQuest we specialise in conducting B2B customer satisfaction surveys. Contacting hard to reach clients is one of our main priorities. We have earned some fantastic success thanks to the unique method we use and our persistence at reaching your customers. Before conducting a survey we contact all of your clients to ask them if they are willing to participate. This initial correspondence lets us update your information and ensure you have the right names, job titles and contact details for your customers. The last thing you want is to try to send a survey out and offend the client by getting their information wrong.

InfoQuest is renowned in the B2B industry for our approach to customer satisfaction surveys. We do all we can to reach your clients and get them to participate in the survey. Over the years we have contacted businesses and individuals all around the world and have enjoyed great success contacting hard to reach customers. Our average response rate is consistently over 70% because of the amount of effort we put into reaching your clients.

If you want to reach your key customers and get their opinions about your business InfoQuest is the company for you. We are 100% committed to you and have the reputation to prove it. The array of companies we have worked with and the return on investment we have delivered show how good we are at what we do. To learn more why not give us a call? You can discuss your needs with us at 01484 868390.


Attributed feedback is one of the three foundations of InfoQuest surveys

Attributed feedback is the process of defining who gave which response. Normally the results of a survey will see you presented with a mass of statistics rather than useful data attributed to customers. In a B2B setting this kind of information is not really useful in making important changes to the business. The small number of clients can produce data with poorly plotted averages that can be misleading and damaging. It also leaves you missing the opinions of important customers.

In B2B having a small customer base can easily be turned into an advantage if you attribute feedback and build a strong relationship with important clients. Normally in this instance your customers will include several people from various departments within the same organisation. Responses for different departments can be hugely different because they have different criteria to work from. For example, the director of finance will look at the cost of your items whilst the head of operations will be more focused on functionality. Learning all of the different opinions can help you provide a better service.

logoNormally with customer satisfaction surveys it is nearly impossible to attribute feedback to each individual within the organisation. At InfoQuest we use our special box method and assign responses to the individuals who actually made them. Our approach is incredibly simple but super effective and has provided our clients with useful information that produces real value for their company. We even offer a 10:1 return on investment guarantee. When we report back if you don’t form a plan that can produce great returns we will refund the cost of the survey.

At InfoQuest attributing feedback is one of the three foundations of our service, along with high response rates and asking a large number of questions. Our commitment to these three factors has seen us enjoy huge success and become renowned as the leading provider of customer satisfaction surveys in the world.

customer-satisfaction-surveys.jpgWe enjoy working with clients to form the perfect survey, letting them choose their questions from a huge library of statements or add their own unique ones. By working in close cooperation with InfoQuest you create the best survey and build a great relationship with clients.

If you have any questions about what we offer please feel free to get in touch; we are always happy to provide answers for you. We recommend calling us personally at 01484 868 395.

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Budgeting for a customer satisfaction survey

Over the last couple of months a lot of people have been talking about budgets. Either they are just doing them or they’ve just done them for 2011. My first reaction is, when we don’t know what is happening to the economy from week to week, how on earth can you predict [and plan for] things that are up to a year away. My second reaction is, if the all important GDP and inflation figures are changing by nought point something of a percentage point, then ninety-nine percent is unchanged and totally predictable. Then a thought comes to mind about issues much closer to home and, naturally, closer to my heart; what about if they are budgeting for a customer satisfaction survey.

The micro view (do I sound like an economist?) is – are we getting their business? But it is the macro view that is more important – that is, will we be getting their repeat business over the coming years?

To achieve this, the customer satisfaction survey must be a success. For it to be a success the client needs to get a return on their investment. And to get that return, the client needs to Do Something With The Results.

Yes, I know it’s blindingly obvious. But dear reader, if it was so obvious, why do so many companies fail to fully follow through?

Here at InfoQuest we try our hardest to point clients in the right direction and give them a good push. We run full-day post-survey workshops with the client’s senior team. They develop an action plan, based on their customers’ feedback; prioritised to give quick wins and put together so that it fits any best-in-class continuous improvement culture.

But all our clients need to budget [or, if you prefer, plan] for some time and effort for that follow-through. If you want to get closer to your customers, if you want to optimise those relationships, if you want to sell more and reduce customer churn, then you are going to have to do some things differently. You will have to plan, implement and manage changes to your systems, disciplines, procedures and people – and that doesn’t happen by magic. Granted, there will be some things that you are currently doing that, based on the customer feedback, you might be able to stop doing – thereby releasing spare capacity of time, effort and money. But don’t bank on that Godsend outweighing the other issues.

So, if you are currently involved in budgeting and, by chance, are also thinking about running a customer satisfaction survey next year, please plan for some stuff to happen afterwards!

p.s. There is a 2-page pdf which looks at the Post Survey Workshop and a copy of our Brainstorm Scorer that we use to help prioritise the actions arising from those workshops available on our Downloads page at www.infoquestcrm.co.uk.

Good luck!

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Can we puhlease start to differentiate between B2C customer satisfaction and B2B satisfaction?

Can we puhlease start to differentiate between B2C customer satisfaction and B2B satisfaction?

It’s driving me crazy.

B2C is about buying a motorcar or a bar of chocolate or some music. It might be about you having the condition of your teeth checked or even having a tonsillectomy. These are all experiences, judged on the point of sale and the subsequent delivery of the product or service. Highly developed, high-volume experiences lead to brand value – BMW; Nestle; I-Tunes. B2C is where the money that is already on the table gets shuffled around and redistributed.

B2B is about buying raw materials and components, capital goods and long-term services such as buildings management and financial audits. These are all ongoing relationships, built on trust, mutual support and mutual benefit. In most cases the goal is “partnering”. The value of these relationships is measured as “good will” on the balance sheet. B2B is the wealth creation of this world.

B2C is about the EXPERIENCE. B2B is about the RELATIONSHIP.

There is a third sector, which is smaller than the B2B and B2C segments but nevertheless significant, that revolves around project-based work. Examples would be law (on a case-by-case basis), management consultancy (where you are only as good as your last project), and building and civil engineering (“oh look – it’s a different ring master but the same old clowns”).

InfoQuest has always been about B2B. We will happily turn away business that does not fit the B2B profile.

With enquiries for B2C customer satisfaction surveys, my response is always the same: make sure the senior managers (managing directors, chief executives and others) are leaving their desks and watching and listening to their customers at the point of sale (preferably anonymously, although wearing a disguise is optional) at least weekly before they even think about employing an outside firm. Dame Mary Perkins, the owner of Europe’s most successful opticians, Specsavers, regularly goes incognito visiting her shops and employs an army of mystery shoppers. Sir Philip Green, boss of Arcadia and Britain’s 9th richest person, will go and talk to shoppers asking them what they like and what they don’t like.

The advice for project-based organisations is straightforward. The project manager and the client should have a regular Friday This Week / Next Week meeting to discuss what happened this week, what is planned for next week (commitments), put it in writing immediately and both parties sign it off. It’s not foolproof, but it ensures communication and goes some way towards partnering.

For B2B customer satisfaction surveys the client needs to be measuring the relationships they have with their most important customers. They need to be drilling down into that relationship, listening to both the decision-makers and the key influencers; treating people as people and individuals individually, with different wants, different needs and different personalities. And, above all, aiming to get a minimum 50% response rate to any survey or feedback mechanism for it to be anything like reliable.

Ten years ago I made the decision to launch InfoQuest in the UK at the CRM Show. InfoQuest had been around in the U.S. for eleven years and had had some exposure in the UK but no actual launch. It was a big mistake using the CRM Show (and we’ve still got the InfoQuest Customer Relationship Management Limited official moniker – another early mistake). Oracle and Siebel were about to take the world by storm with their CRM solutions and nowadays everyone naturally associates CRM or customer relationship management with big, powerful databases that record and plan customer interactions – what they sell should, in my mind, be referred to as Customer Interaction Management, but I guess its not so catchy. We were the only non-techy stand at the 3-day show and the IT managers and Chief Technology Officers just walked past. Oh well, happy days.

But please, can the researchers and the governments and the marketing professors and the business journalists of this world understand, accept and make the differentiation between B2B and B2C?

John Coldwell

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Why do so many successful companies employ customer satisfaction programmes?

Why do so many successful companies employ customer satisfaction survey programmes?

Among the reasons are:

To Avoid Preventable Losses

There are three operating areas in which most customers will openly express displeasure if you fail to perform to expectations – price, quality and on-time delivery. The problem is, there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of additional touch-points in the average business to business relationship in which customers tend to bottle up displeasure. Sales rep performance, tech support, customer service in its many and varied forms, finance administration, all means and manner of communication, placing orders, processing returns – it can be a long list.

The Forum Corporation of America analyzed the causes of customer
migration in 14 major manufacturing and service companies and found that 15 percent migrated because of quality issues, and another 15 percent changed supplier because of price issues. The remainder, 70 percent, moved on because “they didn’t like the human side of doing business with the prior provider of the product or service”.

Tom Peters, The Pursuit of Wow

And as if that’s not bad enough, they don’t “just” leave. Additional studies have consistently determined that the typical dissatisfied customer will also end up telling 8-10 people about their problem or experience.

The good news is, seven of ten complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favour.

The bad news is, for every customer complaint that you hear, there will be, on average, 27 others that will never be brought to your attention. Stated another way, roughly 96% of customer complaints will never be openly voiced.

Why do so many successful companies employ customer satisfaction survey programmes?

Among the reasons are:

To Drive Continuous Improvement

An old truism says that it’s far easier for great service to overcome a second-rate product than it is for a great product to overcome second-rate service. Within that realm is a simple reality that many
business operators fail to recognize:

Your customers know your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and they usually know them better than you do.

They know what it’s like to buy your products and services, from placing an order to having it delivered. They know how well you solve problems.

They know how responsive you are to questions or special needs.

They know if you make it easy to conduct business with you, or if it’s a painful process that’s riddled with red tape. They know if your employees are competent and courteous.

They know if you keep promises or return phone calls.

They know if you value their business, and show it to them, or if they are just taken for granted. They know if your products or services represent value for the money, and they know why or why not.

And…….if that’s not enough…..

Customers can be the best source of innovative new ideas. Throughout history, in all sectors, it’s often customers who come up with new ideas for improving an old product or launching a new one.

Why do so many successful companies employ customer
satisfaction survey programmes?

Among the reasons are:

To Build Market Share

The economics of customer satisfaction speak for themselves.

Industry studies.

“Totally Satisfied” customers have a repurchase rate that is 3 to 10 times higher than that of “Somewhat Satisfied” customers. This is documented by research at Xerox and in other in

“All or nothing: Customers must be ‘Totally Satisfied“ Steve Lewis, Marketing News. Chicago: Mar 2, 1998. Vol. 32, Iss. 5; pg. 11.

“Its “Totally Satisfied” customers were six times more likely to repurchase Xerox products over the next 18 months than its “satisfied” customers.

Why Satisfied Customers Defect. By: Jones, Thomas O.; Sasser Jr., W., Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec95, Vol. 73 Issue 6, p88, 14p

“The relationship between satisfaction and actual share-of-wallet in a business-to-business environment is not only a positive relationship but the relationship is nonlinear, with the greatest positive impact occurring at the upper extreme of satisfaction levels.”

Timothy L Keiningham, Tiffany Perkins-Munn, Heather Evans, Journal of Service Research : JSR. Thousand Oaks: Aug 2003. Vol.
6, Issue. 1; pg. 37

“By examining contract renewal rates (Johnson Controls) found a one point increase in the overall satisfaction score was worth a $13 million increase in service contract renewals annually.”

American Society For Quality, February 2003

“IBM Rochester determined that if customer satisfaction levels increased one percentage point, an additional $257 million in additional revenue would be generated over five years. The ratio of revenue growth between very satisfied and satisfied customers was 3:1.”

American Society For Quality, February 2003

And, of course, the old adage that we’ve all heard and lived by for years. It costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.

Why do so many successful companies employ customer
satisfaction survey programmes?

Among the reasons are:

To Create Checks and Balances

Various studies performed over the years, beginning with one conducted by Xerox in the early 90’s, have consistently shown that a Totally Satisfied customer is, on average, 3-10 times more likely to buy from you again than a customer who is merely Somewhat Satisfied.

Later studies conducted by InfoQuest took those findings a step further with development of a statistical model which determined that the financial relationship between customer satisfaction and revenues is both measurable and predictable. It found that, over time

  • A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue
    to a company as a Somewhat Satisfied Customer.
    A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 14 times as much revenue
    as a Somewhat Dissatisfied Customer.
    A Totally Dissatisfied Customer decreases revenue at a rate equal to twice what a Totally Satisfied Customer contributes to a business.
  • That last finding is particularly noteworthy in that it highlights that you can have twice as many satisfied customers as dissatisfied customers and still be losing ground.

What it all means in terms of revenue is simple. Maximizing business performance means doing everything possible to:

1. Turn Dissatisfied customers into Somewhat Satisfied customers.
2. Turn Somewhat Satisfied customers into Totally Satisfied customers.
3. Avoid undoing anything with customers who are already Totally Satisfied.
And that’s where the checks and balances come into play.
Do key decision-makers in your company know which of your top accounts is dissatisfied, and why?

Are priorities and initiatives aimed at improving customer satisfaction systemically known, universally pursued and routinely measured?

Is everyone in the company, all departments at all levels, hearing and focusing on the same things?

When your team looks at your business, do they see the same things your customers see? Do they know what your customers see?

Does everyone understand who your top accounts are and what needs to be done to keep them?

Fundamental questions, right? Yet in many companies, purely informal means are employed to try to maintain a sense of customer needs. Using a combination of in-house metrics, anecdotal field tales, passive data collection and an abundance of hindsight, they wage a valiant attempt to keep their fingers on the pulse of customer sentiments, often collecting information with one hand and fighting fires with the other.

Of course, bad news does not travel up the corporate hierarchy very well, and the vast majority of customer complaints are never openly voiced, which means that informal means are rather like estimating the depth of the ocean by looking at the surface. Add in the effects of
preconceived notions, wishful thinking, attitudinal biases and even the occasionally fragile corporate ego and…….. ……well, good luck.

So customer satisfaction surveys have been developed and adopted to fill the knowledge void.

Which leads to the next challenge. Not all customer satisfaction surveys are created equal, so how does one go about finding the one that will best meet your needs?

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