Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Strategic Planning from a Customer Survey

Whether your business is in groceries, or health care, or manufacturing, or book retail, the Net Promoter Score question can help you with your strategic planning, and next year's goals. Hopefully, you've already set your goals for next year. Also, you've already taken steps, starting in the fall, to improve next year.

Customer survey response rates are pretty low. They can stay low as long as the 'demographic' of the respondents is reflective of the customer population. Any analysis of the proportions would be accurate within a margin of error based on the number of respondents. However, we often can't guarantee that the survey answers came back from a pool of 'average customers'.

There is one survey technique--Net Promoter Score--that will facilitate a high response rate. The Net Promoter Score relies on just one question: "On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to promote our business/product to your peers, colleagues, friends, neighbors, etc.?" That's it. Just the one question.

In order to be useful, it's required to leave a blank space for comments. From these comments you can glean what your promoters like about your product or service. You can also glean what your detractors dislike about your product/service. In your strategic planning, you want to address those concerns. In order to improve the NPS, you need to move detractors into becoming 'neutrals' or move neutrals into promoters. To do those things, you need to make plans to change aspects of your business to remove obstacles to becoming promoters. If they complain about pricing, how can you persuade them to appreciate the current value? If they complain about a lack of features, tout other technological functions. Fix service and delivery issues. Are they having quality issues? Set up cross-functional teams to address problems.

One question, one comment: you can find avenues to growth and profitability by listening to the customers.

By the way, you might try the same technique internally: a one-question employee survey.

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