Blog Post

Mining the Gold – Listening Hard to “Detractors”

How do you use your customer feedback to help change the course of your business? Inside your call centers you have a gold mine of information that you should be using to harness action. One of the most powerful is organizing that information your “detractors” (those who are not pleased) give you. It can help to change your business and increase profitability….because detractors drive business from you. And they do it very verbally on the internet!

Action Number 1: Be sure people know a “Detractor” when they hear one.
The importance of driving the “customer mission” as a strategic imperative of the business is to throw a bright glaring light on the fact that business prosperity comes from increasing the number of “promoters” or customer advocates, and in reducing the potential “detractors.” Your reps can play a key role in rescuing “detractors” or customers at risk.

As you train your reps, consider developing a heightened listening skill for knowing customers who are “at risk” of leaving your business. What do they say, what are their emotions? What are the best ways to empathize, support and rescue these customers in distress?

Action Number 2: Know the reasons why customers are your detractors.
Engage your reps to help you to inventory the issues why customers are the most upset and on the verge of leaving. You may want to do some additional outreach to contact those customers. To get that information, you need to reach out to these customers and genuinely ask what went awry in the relationship.

This type of action (which can be done during down times) flips your center from cost center to strategic partner business partner to the business – providing relevant and ROI related information to improve the operation.

Actions Number 3: Engage company executives in a quarterly or monthly customer loss review.
I call this a “culture boost” to driving customer focus. The reason is that it puts executives close to customer issues and connects reasons for their contacting your center with defection and loss of revenue. Inventory the issues and trend them. If you can, support your executives in personally calling some lost customers prior to your review.

If that’s not possible, record those calls so they have the voice of the customer in their ear. Reports are great. But there is nothing as powerful as hearing the voice of the customer personalizing and bringing the issues to life to drive traction.

This should give you plenty of momentum to focus and attach resources to problems that are driving your customers and your profitability out the door. And you continue to increase the value of your operation and you increase the value of your folks, from “service reps” to “customer rescue artists.”

 

About the author

Author of two best-selling books: I Love You More Than My Dog, which presents best practices for companies to move from an “everyday” company to a “beloved” company, and Chief Customer Officer, which is the roadmap purchased and followed by more than 60 percent of all newly minted customer leaders. Bliss was the chief customer officer leading customer focus at Lands' End, Microsoft, Allstate, Mazda and Coldwell Banker Corporations. Her company, Customer Bliss, helps leaders and their companies, such as AAA, Ameritrade, Costco, Yahoo! and Zappos, create an actionable path for driving the customer loyalty commitment into business operations.

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