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Using a voice of the customer survey to assist with CRM implementation

A solid CRM strategy should aim to take the customer’s voice into account. Our expert Jill Dyche explains how to solicit a voice of the customer survey and how it can affect CRM implementation.

I am conducting a project on the effectiveness of CRM for our company. I want to do conduct a voice of the customer survey to help implement CRM. What are some questions I should ask our customers?

Wow! A company that understands that the "voice of the customer" should actually drive a CRM project! Way to go!

In a voice of the customer survey, it’s super important to manage expectations. What are you going to do with the survey answers? How will it help you to serve them better and enhance your products and services? And -- yes, this matters -- what will they get for completing the survey? What’s the quid pro quo? (As most customers will tell you, better service is great, but a Starbucks gift card doesn’t hurt either.)

Your voice of the customer survey should include three parts:

1. Who the customer is. This means asking not only basic information about the customer -- ideally, you should have enough data about the customer to fill in her contact details and solicit additional information in order to enrich her existing profile. You can’t survey customers every day, so consider each survey to be an awesome opportunity to gather additional information.

2. Their past relationship with you and your products. Again, you should have the basic data on which products your customer already has and fill that in. Why did he buy products? What competitors did he consider before purchasing your services? Are there specific product features that they particularly appreciate and use? Have there been issues or defects? If you're a B2B company, what’s their relationship with their account executive or call center rep?

3. Their "desired" relationship with you and your products. This is your opportunity to get the customer’s wish list. How could you improve communications with them? Are their new or additional channels or outlets they’d like to communicate through? Would they share their thoughts on social media networks like Twitter or join your Facebook fan page? Make sure this information is available on the survey form so they have it.

Know that the customers who respond to your survey are a self-selected group, so try to get feedback from prospects and ex-customers if you can.

And it sounds obvious, but you should thank your customer for filling out the survey. Time is an increasingly precious resource, while e-mail spam soliciting consumer input proliferates. Customer feedback is the surest way to tune customer-facing business processes and drive improvements. Make sure the data finds its way not only into your customer profile data, but that it drives requirements for your new CRM program. Good luck with it!

Submit your question to Jill Dyche.

This was last published in December 2009

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