In the 1970’s and 80’s I worked for ADP. The CEO for most of my tenure was Josh Weston. Josh was brilliant. He knew every financial indicator for each region. He could quote specific numbers for overall satisfaction, customer churn and profitability.
Josh was interested in customer feedback too. Not just the numbers, but what customers were really thinking: what did they feel was good, what wasn’t working, were they confident that ADP could handle their future requirements? At ADP I was Vice President of Client Retention and Customer Satisfaction and responsible for the National Account Manager Program. When I returned from customer field visits around the country, I would prepare a detailed analysis about what I learned from customers and document any suggestions customers had to improve service delivery or product features. Encouraged by Josh, senior executives were eager to read the report because it contained valuable customer insights that could be turned into actionable data.
Now I find most C-Suite executives are only interested in one number. It could be the company’s Customer Effort Score, NPS, or overall CSAT. They can probably quote any of those in their sleep. But, if you ask them how customers really feel or what specific changes their company is making to promote customer loyalty, they probably don’t have answers.
When customers rate a company on customer satisfaction, they are primarily basing their overall perception on their transactional experiences. Many factors are involved: how easy is it to reach the call center; is resolving a billing issue difficult; what is the company’s return policy? The frontline associates who handle these transactions can be the catalyst to move the loyalty needle. Unfortunately, I think most senior level executives don’t spend enough time learning what’s behind the numbers and fail to invest to customer service.
Numbers are meaningless without backing them up with what customers are thinking and feeling. The saying is, “the devil is in the details.” Customer feedback can provide the details creating the roadmap to make improvements at every point in the customers’ loyalty journey.