Archive for Personalization

Organizations and Types of Relationships

Posted in Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by Consultant
Organizations today live in highly dynamic environments. Essentially the existence and growth of the business is dependent upon several external and internal factors such as highly segmented geographical markets, aggressive competition and shorter life cycle. These and many more factors exert a lot of pressure on the Organizations to innovate both in terms of its product offering as well as in its organizational development and ways of conducting business. Revenue and profits do form the primary basis of its business transactions. However in the long term growth perspective Organizations have got to be able to manage both external and internal relationships on the basis of the values and culture on which it is founded.

Share Holders

Gone are the days when share holders were a community content with the returns they received from the Company and went along with whatever the Managements thought good. Managements today are seen becoming increasingly answerable to the share holders.

Recently we have seen several cases where CEOs of the Companies having been voted out by the share holders for not falling in line with the thought process of the Organization and the share holders. We saw major changes in Hewlett Packard wherein the shareholders took the call to change the management and the strategic approach of the Company to business.

Organizations today exist in a situation which demands that they extend products and services as well as keep investing into building products and technology for tomorrow. If the business needs to exist and grow there is no option but to invest into the future. Therefore the shareholders take the centre stage when it comes to approval of and financing the Organisational business and growth plans. Shareholders today are aggressive demanding that the Organization walk the talk when it comes to the bottom line as well as in terms of its culture. Brands like IBM, HP and GE etc are more vulnerable to the stake holders as well as to the public as an Organization. These and other Corporate are using internet, Multimedia and websites to speak to the investors and extend the relationship with the share holders and investors. Internet platform allows the corporate open up relationship with the share holder community on an interactive basis thus giving the Company the control on how to manage the relationship as well as build investor confidence.

For Companies that are looking for investments to fuel their growth engines, there exists a need to demonstrate and cultivate the right corporate image and capability besides the past performance figures which alone will not help attract investors. Companies are therefore engage in Public relations as well as corporate communications to reach out to the prospective investor public as well as institutions to build the right kind of corporate image. Image building and relationship building become the long term strategy of the corporate communications of the Organization.

Social Responsibility

In the recent times the social responsibility and attitude of the Companies towards their responsibilities is becoming more and more visible and public. NGOs and specific interest groups are taking the lead in keeping track of and benchmarking social responsibility performance of the Corporate thus making them accountable. The brand image of the Organization is definitely affected by the way it is managing its social responsibility with the community, investors as well as policy makers being active participants as watchdogs.

Organizations have had to engage with the communities by way of participative activities as well as using communication strategies and by maintaining and managing relationship to be able to get across the right perspective as well as the right information. The recent example of GAP having had to withdraw from sourcing clothing from Indian Companies and suppliers who engaged child labour in the production lines is an ideal example which showcased the power of the community and the stake holders forcing the Company to take immediate action and use its relationship to project the right image for itself. The recent oil spill of BP in the west coast is another ideal case for study of how BP manages the relationship with the Govt, with its share holders, with the affected communities as well as manage its social responsibility.

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Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Classical Theories of Motivation

The motivation concepts were mainly developed around 1950’s. Three main theories were made during this period. These three classical theories are-

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

Abraham Maslow is well renowned for proposing the Hierarchy of Needs Theory in 1943. This theory is a classical depiction of human motivation. This theory is based on the assumption that there is a hierarchy of five needs within each individual. The urgency of these needs varies. These five needs are as follows-

  1. Physiological needs- These are the basic needs of air, water, food, clothing and shelter. In other words, physiological needs are the needs for basic amenities of life.
  2. Safety needs- Safety needs include physical, environmental and emotional safety and protection. For instance- Job security, financial security, protection from animals, family security, health security, etc.
  3. Social needs- Social needs include the need for love, affection, care, belongingness, and friendship.
  4. Esteem needs- Esteem needs are of two types: internal esteem needs (self- respect, confidence, competence, achievement and freedom) and external esteem needs (recognition, power, status, attention and admiration).
  5. Self-actualization need- This include the urge to become what you are capable of becoming / what you have the potential to become. It includes the need for growth and self-contentment. It also includes desire for gaining more knowledge, social- service, creativity and being aesthetic. The self- actualization needs are never fully satiable. As an individual grows psychologically, opportunities keep cropping up to continue growing.

According to Maslow, individuals are motivated by unsatisfied needs. As each of these needs is significantly satisfied, it drives and forces the next need to emerge. Maslow grouped the five needs into two categories –Higher-order needs and Lower-order needs. The physiological and the safety needs constituted the lower-order needs. These lower-order needs are mainly satisfied externally. The social, esteem, and self-actualization needs constituted the higher-order needs. These higher-order needs are generally satisfied internally, i.e., within an individual. Thus, we can conclude that during boom period, the employees lower-order needs are significantly met.

Maslows Need Hierarchy ModelFIGURE: Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Model
Implications of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory for Managers
As far as the physiological needs are concerned, the managers should give employees appropriate salaries to purchase the basic necessities of life. Breaks and eating opportunities should be given to employees.
As far as the safety needs are concerned, the managers should provide the employees job security, safe and hygienic work environment, and retirement benefits so as to retain them.
As far as social needs are concerned, the management should encourage teamwork and organize social events.
As far as esteem needs are concerned, the managers can appreciate and reward employees on accomplishing and exceeding their targets. The management can give the deserved employee higher job rank / position in the organization.
As far as self-actualization needs are concerned, the managers can give the employees challenging jobs in which the employees’ skills and competencies are fully utilized. Moreover, growth opportunities can be given to them so that they can reach the peak.

The managers must identify the need level at which the employee is existing and then those needs can be utilized as push for motivation.

Limitations of Maslow’s Theory
  • It is essential to note that not all employees are governed by same set of needs. Different individuals may be driven by different needs at same point of time. It is always the most powerful unsatisfied need that motivates an individual.
  • The theory is not empirically supported.
  • The theory is not applicable in case of starving artist as even if the artist’s basic needs are not satisfied, he will still strive for recognition and achievement.
  • Herzberg’s Two factor theory

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation

In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, a behavioural scientist proposed a two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. According to Herzberg, there are some job factors that result in satisfaction while there are other job factors that prevent dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.

Herzbergs view of satisfaction and dissatisfaction
FIGURE: Herzberg’s view of satisfaction and dissatisfaction

Herzberg classified these job factors into two categories-

  1. Hygiene factors- Hygiene factors are those job factors which are essential for existence of motivation at workplace. These do not lead to positive satisfaction for long-term. But if these factors are absent / if these factors are non-existant at workplace, then they lead to dissatisfaction. In other words, hygiene factors are those factors which when adequate / reasonable in a job, pacify the employees and do not make them dissatisfied. These factors are extrinsic to work. Hygiene factors are also called asdissatisfiers or maintenance factors as they are required to avoid dissatisfaction. These factors describe the job environment / scenario. The hygiene factors symbolized the physiological needs which the individuals wanted and expected to be fulfilled. Hygiene factors include:
    • Pay- The pay or salary structure should be appropriate and reasonable. It must be equal and competitive to those in the same industry in the same domain.
    • Company Policies and administrative policies- The company policies should not be too rigid. They should be fair and clear. It should include flexible working hours, dress code, breaks, vacation, etc.
    • Fringe benefits- The employees should be offered health care plans (mediclaim), benefits for the family members, employee help programmes, etc.
    • Physical Working conditions- The working conditions should be safe, clean and hygienic. The work equipments should be updated and well-maintained.
    • Status- The employees’ status within the organization should be familiar and retained.
    • Interpersonal relations-The relationship of the employees with his peers, superiors and subordinates should be appropriate and acceptable. There should be no conflict or humiliation element present.
    • Job Security- The organization must provide job security to the employees.

     

  2. Motivational factors- According to Herzberg, the hygiene factors cannot be regarded as motivators. The motivational factors yield positive satisfaction. These factors are inherent to work. These factors motivate the employees for a superior performance. These factors are called satisfiers. These are factors involved in performing the job. Employees find these factors intrinsically rewarding. The motivators symbolized the psychological needs that were perceived as an additional benefit. Motivational factors include:
    • Recognition- The employees should be praised and recognized for their accomplishments by the managers.
    • Sense of achievement- The employees must have a sense of achievement. This depends on the job. There must be a fruit of some sort in the job.
    • Growth and promotional opportunities- There must be growth and advancement opportunities in an organization to motivate the employees to perform well.
    • Responsibility- The employees must hold themselves responsible for the work. The managers should give them ownership of the work. They should minimize control but retain accountability.
    • Meaningfulness of the work- The work itself should be meaningful, interesting and challenging for the employee to perform and to get motivated.
Limitations of Two-Factor Theory

The two factor theory is not free from limitations:

  1. The two-factor theory overlooks situational variables.
  2. Herzberg assumed a correlation between satisfaction and productivity. But the research conducted by Herzberg stressed upon satisfaction and ignored productivity.
  3. The theory’s reliability is uncertain. Analysis has to be made by the raters. The raters may spoil the findings by analyzing same response in different manner.
  4. No comprehensive measure of satisfaction was used. An employee may find his job acceptable despite the fact that he may hate/object part of his job.
  5. The two factor theory is not free from bias as it is based on the natural reaction of employees when they are enquired the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work. They will blame dissatisfaction on the external factors such as salary structure, company policies and peer relationship. Also, the employees will give credit to themselves for the satisfaction factor at work.
  6. The theory ignores blue-collar workers. Despite these limitations, Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory is acceptable broadly.
Implications of Two-Factor Theory
The Two-Factor theory implies that the managers must stress upon guaranteeing the adequacy of the hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction. Also, the managers must make sure that the work is stimulating and rewarding so that the employees are motivated to work and perform harder and better. This theory emphasize upon job-enrichment so as to motivate the employees. The job must utilize the employee’s skills and competencies to the maximum. Focusing on the motivational factors can improve work-quality.
  • Theory X and Theory Y

In 1960, Douglas McGregor formulated Theory X and Theory Y suggesting two aspects of human behaviour at work, or in other words, two different views of individuals (employees): one of which is negative, called as Theory X and the other is positive, so called as Theory Y. According to McGregor, the perception of managers on the nature of individuals is based on various assumptions.

Assumptions of Theory X
  • An average employee intrinsically does not like work and tries to escape it whenever possible.
  • Since the employee does not want to work, he must be persuaded, compelled, or warned with punishment so as to achieve organizational goals. A close supervision is required on part of managers. The managers adopt a more dictatorial style.
  • Many employees rank job security on top, and they have little or no aspiration/ ambition.
  • Employees generally dislike responsibilities.
  • Employees resist change.
  • An average employee needs formal direction.
Assumptions of Theory Y
  • Employees can perceive their job as relaxing and normal. They exercise their physical and mental efforts in an inherent manner in their jobs.
  • Employees may not require only threat, external control and coercion to work, but they can use self-direction and self-control if they are dedicated and sincere to achieve the organizational objectives.
  • If the job is rewarding and satisfying, then it will result in employees’ loyalty and commitment to organization.
  • An average employee can learn to admit and recognize the responsibility. In fact, he can even learn to obtain responsibility.
  • The employees have skills and capabilities. Their logical capabilities should be fully utilized. In other words, the creativity, resourcefulness and innovative potentiality of the employees can be utilized to solve organizational problems.

Thus, we can say that Theory X presents a pessimistic view of employees’ nature and behaviour at work, while Theory Y presents an optimistic view of the employees’ nature and behaviour at work. If correlate it with Maslow’s theory, we can say that Theory X is based on the assumption that the employees emphasize on the physiological needs and the safety needs; while Theory X is based on the assumption that the social needs, esteem needs and the self-actualization needs dominate the employees.

McGregor views Theory Y to be more valid and reasonable than Theory X. Thus, he encouraged cordial team relations, responsible and stimulating jobs, and participation of all in decision-making process.

Implications of Theory X and Theory Y
Quite a few organizations use Theory X today. Theory X encourages use of tight control and supervision. It implies that employees are reluctant to organizational changes. Thus, it does not encourage innovation.
Many organizations are using Theory Y techniques. Theory Y implies that the managers should create and encourage a work environment which provides opportunities to employees to take initiative and self-direction. Employees should be given opportunities to contribute to organizational well-being. Theory Y encourages decentralization of authority, teamwork and participative decision making in an organization. Theory Y searches and discovers the ways in which an employee can make significant contributions in an organization. It harmonizes and matches employees’ needs and aspirations with organizational needs and aspirations.

These theories are building blocks of the contemporary theories developed later. The working mangers and learned professionals till date use these classical theories to explain the concept of employee motivation.

 

Posted in B2B, CRM with tags , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Motivational Challenges

Motivation seems to be a simple function of management in books, but in practice it is more challenging. The reasons for motivation being challenging job are as follows:

 

  • One of the main reasons of motivation being a challenging job is due to the changing workforce. The employees become a part of their organization with various needs and expectations. Different employees have different beliefs, attitudes, values, backgrounds and thinking. But all the organizations are not aware of the diversity in their workforce and thus are not aware and clear about different ways of motivating their diverse workforce. 
  • Employees motives cannot be seen, they can only be presumed. Suppose, there are two employees in a team showing varying performance despite being of same age group, having same educational qualifications and same work experience. The reason being what motivates one employee may not seem motivating to other. 
  • Motivation of employees becomes challenging especially when the organizations have considerably changed the job role of the employees, or have lessened the hierarchy levels of hierarchy, or have chucked out a significant number of employees in the name of down-sizing or right-sizing. Certain firms have chosen to hire and fire and paying for performance strategies nearly giving up motivational efforts. These strategies are unsuccessful in making an individual overreach himself. 

     

  • The vigorous nature of needs also pose challenge to a manager in motivating his subordinates. This is because an employee at a certain point of time has diverse needs and expectations. Also, these needs and expectations keep on changing and might also clash with each other. For instance-the employees who spend extra time at work for meeting their needs for accomplishment might discover that the extra time spent by them clash with their social neds and with the need for affiliation. 

Posted in Brand Managment, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Workplace Motivation – Carrot or Stick approach doesn’t work anymore

“I am in this job because I have no other option.” If this is what an employee of your company feels, read on to know how this statement can be changed to something more positive – “I love what I do.”

First things first – whose responsibility is it to ensure that an employee loves his job? While an employee would say – the employer, the human resource experts have a different point of view which sounds fair. It’s both the employer and the employee who should work together to make work fun for each other.

It is interesting to know here, that employees do not rank ’salary’ as the top factor in determining whether they like their jobs or not. What is important to them then – the opportunity to do what is ’important’. Almost all the employees would like to feel part of the big picture and would want to contribute to the organizational goals in some way or the other. Doing the mundane, routine work will never excite them – what excites them is – work that challenges them to use their talent. Right Management Consultants conducted a survey sometime back and found

that 83% of about 500 workers surveyed were motivated by “challenges at work”.

Also, as per an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, while salary and promotions could do a great job of demotivating people if handled ineffectively, they aren’t so much effective in motivating people.

So then what needs to be done for effective motivation at workplace?

Link Rewards directly to Performance- An organization should adopt a fair reward structure which provides incentive to the most deserving employee. Have an incentive structure in place doesn’t solve the problem… what makes it workable is the employees trust in the system and believe that they will be rewarded if they perform well.
Compliment employees- Even though an employee’s name has not appeared in the list of people getting incentives, go ahead and compliment that employee for a job well done – no matter how small. There is nothing more satisfying to an employee than a pat on his back.
Be transparent- While there may be some strategic decisions which you might want to share with the employees at a later stage, make sure employees do not give in to the rumours. Stay in touch with the employees.
Work on your PDP- Every employee is responsible for his / her own career. He / she should work towards his ’Personal Development Plan’ [PDP] as discussed and agreed by his manager. Find out what are the training company offers and which is best suited to his development needs. How this will motivate you – remember training always increase your marketability and enhance your career.
Participate and Network- Employees – Remember you work for a company where a one-on-one attention might not be possible. Do not wait for an invitation to participate in a discussion. If you are a part of a forum, then you have full right to express your opinion and be a part of the process. Expressing yourself is a good way of motivating yourself.

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts), Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Staff Motivation – Motivation Tips for Employees

Employees are the building blocks of an organization. Organizational success depends on the collective efforts of the employees. The employees will collectively contribute to organizational growth when they are motivated.

Below mentioned are some tips for motivating the staff / employees in an organization:

Evaluate yourself- In order to motivate, encourage and control your staff’s behaviour, it is essential to understand, encourage and control your own behaviour as a manager. Work upon utilizing your strengths and opportunities to neutralize and lower the negative impact of your weaknesses and organizational threats. The manager should adopt the approach “You’re OK – I’m OK”.
Be familiar with your staff- The manager should be well acquainted with his staff. The more and the better he knows his staff, the simpler it is to get them involved in the job as well as in achieving the team and organizational goals. This will also invite staff’s commitment and loyalty. A cordial superior-subordinate relationship is a key factor in job-satisfaction.
Provide the employees certain benefits- Give your staff some financial and other benefits. Give them bonuses, pay them for overtime, and give them health and family insurance benefits. Make sure they get breaks from work. Let them enjoy vacations and holidays.
Participate in new employees induction programme- Induction proceeds with recruitment advertising. At this point of time, the potential entrants start creating their own impressions and desires about the job and the organization. The manner in which the selection is conducted and the consequent recruitment process will either build or damage the impression about the job and organization. Thus, the manager must have a say in framing the advertisement and also in the selection and recruitment process. After the decision about the candidate is made, the manager must take personal interest in the selected joinee’s joining date, the family relocation issues, cost of removal, etc. Being observed by the new recruit and your entire team / staff to be involved completely, will ensure a persuasive entry in the organization.
Provide feedback to the staff constantly- The staff members are keen to know how they are performing. Try giving a regular and constructive feedback to your staff. This will be more acceptable by the staff. Do not base the feedback on assumptions, but on facts and personal observations. Do not indulge in favouritism or comparing the employee with some one else. Sit with your staff on daily or weekly basis and make sure that feedback happens. This will help in boosting employee’s morale and will thus motivate the staff.
Acknowledge your staff on their achievements- A pat on the back, some words of praise, and giving a note of credit to the employee / staff member at personal level with some form of broad publicity can motivate the staff a lot. Make it a point to mention the staff’s outstanding achievements in official newsletters or organization’s journal. Not only acknowledge the employee with highest contribution, but also acknowledge the employee who meets and over exceeds the targets.
Ensure effective time management- Having control over time ensures that things are done in right manner. Motivate your staff to have “closed” times, i.e., few hours when there are no interruptions for the staff in performing their job role so that they can concentrate on the job, and “open” times when the staff freely communicate and interact. Plan one to one sessions of interaction with your staff where they can ask their queries and also can get your attention and, thereby, they will not feel neglected. This all will work in long run to motivate the staff.
Have stress management techniques in your organization- Create an environment in which you and your staff can work within optimum pressure levels. Ensure an optimistic attitude towards stress in the workplace. Have training sessions on stress management, and ensure a follow-up with group meetings on the manner stress can be lowered at work. Give your staff autonomy in work. Identify the stress symptoms in employees and try to deal with them.
Use counselling technique- The employees’ / staff feelings towards the work, their peer, their superiors and towards the future can be effectively dealt through the staff counseling. Counselling provides an environment, incentive and support which enable the employee to achieve his identity.
Give the employees learning opportunities- Employees should consistently learn new skills on the job. It has been well said by someone that with people hopping jobs more often than required and organizations no longer giving job security to employees, the young blood employees specifically realize that continuing learning is the best way to remain employable. Opportunities should be given to the employees to develop their skills and competencies and to make best use of their skills. Link the staff goals with the organizational goals.
Set an example for your staff / subordinates- Be a role model for your staff. The staff would learn from what you do and not from what you say / claim. The way you interact with your clients / customers and how do you react later after the interaction is over have an impact upon the staff. The staff more closely observes your non-verbal communication (gestures, body language). Being unpunctual, wasting the organization’s capital, mismanaging organization’s physical equipments, asking the staff to do your personal work, etc. all have a negative impact on the staff. Try setting an example for your staff to follow.
Smile often- Smiling can have a tremendous effect on boosting the morale of the staff. A smiling superior creates an optimistic and motivating work environment. Smiling is an essential component of the body language of confidence, acceptance and boldness. Smile consistently, naturally and often, to demonstrate that you feel good and positive about the staff who works for you. It encourages new ideas and feedback from the staff. The staff does not feel hesitant and threatened to discuss their views this way.
Listen effectively- Listening attentively is a form of recognizing and appreciating the person who is talking. Reciprocal / Mutual listening develops cordial and healthy personal relationships on which the employee / staff development rests. If the managers do not listen attentively to the subordinates, the morale of the subordinates lowers down and they do not feel like sharing their ideas or giving their views. Effective listening by the manager boosts up the employees’ morale and thus motivates them.
Ensure effective communication- In order to motivate your staff, indulge in effective communication such as avoid using anger expressions, utilize questioning techniques to know staff’s mindset and analysis rather than ordering the staff what to do, base your judgements on facts and not on assumptions, use relaxed and steady tone of voice, listen effectively and be positive and helpful in your responses. Share your views with the staff.
Develop and encourage creativity- The staff should be encouraged to develop the creativity skills so as to solve organizational problems. Give them time and resources for developing creativity. Let them hold constant brainstorming sessions. Invite ideas and suggestions from the staff. They may turn out to be very productive.
Don’t be rigid. Be flexible- Introduce flexibility in work. Allow for flexible working hours if possible. Let the employees work at home occasionally if need arises. Do not be rigid in accepting ideas from your staff. Stimulate flexible attitudes in the employees who are accountable to you by asking what changes they would like to bring about if given a chance.
Adopt job enrichment- Job enrichment implies giving room for a better quality of working life. It means facilitating people to achieve self-development, fame and success through a more challenging and interesting job which provides more promotional and advancement opportunities. Give employees more freedom in job, involve them in decision-making process, show them loyalty and celebrate their achievements.
Respect your team- Respect not only the employees’ rights to share and express their views, and to be themselves, but their time too. This will ensure that the employees respect you and your time. Make the staff feel that they are respected not just as employees / workers but as individuals too.

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

The Power of Customer Feedback

First, a plea: please don’t keep your marketing insight languishing in a silo, away from your core business processes. The technology exists to generate real business value from this often-untapped information, so take advantage of the opportunity to link this valuable asset—knowledge about customers—to the rest of your business.

By fully embracing your customer-feedback program, you can achieve transparency into customer attitudes and learn important truths about today’s buying behavior and the evolving attitudes that will determine future buying behavior.

A comprehensive understanding of customer attitudes enables you to build processes to prevent customer churn and drive cross-selling opportunities. The marketing department can use a customer-feedback program to drive tailored marketing campaigns and strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers.

These programs are not just about making customers happy; they can also deliver real commercial value.

Communicate for engagement

By implementing a feedback program, you initiate a conversation with your customers, helping them to become truly entrenched in your brand—from product creation to problem resolution.

Such increased engagement forms far tighter purchasing relationships and builds significant brand value. Constant, relevant communication also provides an excellent platform for the creation of personalized, relevant promotions, creating a win-win that further builds the relationship. Better still, you will be able to make better-informed business decisions when you capture customer experiences and embed that insight into your business.

Learn how to share

This all seems ideal, but few organizations today have created the tightly integrated framework required to truly maximize the value of customer conversations across the company. In many cases, feedback data sits in a series of silos. Keeping it completely separate from other customer data reduces its value to little more than “mildly interesting.”

The lack of visibility into customer data by the marketing team means that, irrespective of investments in customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing resource management (MRM), Marketing’s interaction with the business remains, at best, a sporadic provision of leads to the sales team.

Time is of the essence

Timing is crucial in getting the most from the feedback you gather. If one of your customers has a poor experience with your contact center and defects to the competition, there is little point in contacting that customer three months later. The moment has passed, and the opportunity has been missed. Had you gained insight into that customer’s attitude when the problem occurred, with alerts to the relevant customer complaint team, the issue could likely have been resolved immediately, and the defection avoided.

Volumes of evidence show increased loyalty among customers whose issues were resolved successfully. Improved customer retention and increased loyalty—what’s not to like?

Marketing harnesses customer insight

Timely, focused surveys can transform the speed, relevance, and value of product-development campaigns and foster unprecedented customer loyalty and commitment. The information derived from surveys is critical to infusing the value of customer attitudes directly into your business.

Consider this example, in which loyal customers shared their experiences to great effect. Egg, the world’s largest online-only bank (now a Citigroup division), used its feedback program to develop an innovative new product in five weeks—compared with an industry standard of around 12 months.

Egg surveyed 30,000 customers about the customer proposition being contemplated. A key success factor was the familiarity of Egg’s customers with regular personalized online contact. The company had been using online surveying technology for five years to manage the customer experience. The customized nature of these surveys, which included customers’ names and recent activities, led to higher response rates.

Building a program that enables you to continually take your customers’ pulse and build an ongoing dialogue in times of trouble is crucial for aligning your business with your customers’ attitudes. To avoid generic feedback that you can’t act on, ensure that this “pulse-check” happens in conjunction with key customer interactions. For example, a retailer feedback request might coincide with a purchase, return, or contact center inquiry. With the right tools and approach, an alert system ensures immediate action to avoid customer defection and resolve customer dissatisfaction.

It is only by combining a real-time understanding of customer attitude with business processes that you can fully enjoy the benefits of creating a customer dialogue. Banish your silos, and reap the rewards of sharing feedback across your entire business.