Honda revs up its survey strategy

With one centralized system for leveraging customer feedback Honda is aligning sales, marketing and human resources behind customer feedback.

Several departments conducting multiple surveys often leads to a torrent of disjointed data. To overcome that challenge

Honda Motors USA deployed an online survey system that provides one output for multiple data analysis.

Three years ago the auto company had implemented an online survey tool on its Web site. Various departments deployed their own surveys independently, without leveraging each other's results. The surveys were unproductive -- a waste of time and resources, according to Barika Croom, a marketing analyst with Honda Motors USA.

"We needed all of our research to be conducted [through] one location," Croom said.

Last year Honda upgraded to an enterprise feedback management (EFM) tool offered by the Perseus Development Corp. as its primary means of accumulating survey responses from customers, then analyzing the data for its marketing, sales, and human resources teams. Multiple users can submit surveys into the centralized system, which are then deployed in a coordinated fashion. Additionally, instead of different departments wading through multiple data streams, there is one centralized data stream that various departments can access to analyze based on their respective needs. This has saved the company "significant" resources, according to Croom.

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"This style of surveying is very friendly for producing quarterly reports," Croom said, since every department sees results in the same format, rather than having each department present them differently. However, her favorite feature is the real-time data, which allows Honda to swiftly react to customer feedback. For example, the company is able to quickly adjust the way it markets some of its products online based on customer feedback suggesting adjusting features on the Web site, like simplifying navigation.

Another key feature of EFM is its ability to custom-tailor surveys to the needs of different customers by allowing certain questions to be omitted, depending upon the circumstances behind individual customers, most commonly the make of car they were purchasing, Croom said.

"We never just send out a blanket survey to all customers," she said. Civic owners might get a completely different survey than, say, an Accord owner. "By varying the survey audience we are able to maximize the usage of [EFM], because we are not constantly sending surveys to the same people."

This, in turn, makes for much quicker and more relevant surveys, which helps customers to focus in on the questions that matter for them. "Customers always prefer quicker surveys," she said.

Since implementing enterprise feedback management, Honda has gained a better understanding of how customers perceive the company's products and respond to brand marketing, according to Croom. "[EFM] is now the primary way of learning what our customers want," she said.

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Copyright © 2005 Carlson Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Peppers & Rogers Group, a division of Carlson Marketing Group.

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