Braintrust Query: ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ – Listening to Best Customers
By Mark Price, Managing
Partner of M Squared Group
BJ Bueno, in a post on MediaPost Blogs on Dec
22 entitled "Attract
Loyal Customers by Creating a Magnetic Brand" provides
10 key strategies for building relationships with best customers. The second
one is "Listen to what your best customers are telling you. Don’t be a transaction-making
machine. Be a real person."
But it is much harder
to tell companies about what I think as a best customer than it should be.
I can go to the website and see if I can find a "contact us" form, I can see
if I can find a written feedback form and fill it out and remember to hand
it in and then find someone who will take it, or I can tweet or blog about
it and hope someone reads it. All in all, I have to go way out of my way to
share feedback — not just the bad, but the good as well.
We know we need feedback
from our best customers, the 15 percent who drive 40-60 percent of revenue
and more than that of profit. We don’t just need feedback, but we need conversations
that help create and reinforce relationships. Customers who share their feedback,
listen to us and then share again are committing to more than just transactions.
Then we can get feedback and, as importantly, we begin to earn commitment,
the Holy Grail of relationship marketing.
But how do we do this? How do we create
places where people can safely communicate with us and with other customers
and respond to them without spending a bunch of money we just don’t have?
are three “no excuses” marketing ideas about getting feedback and having
conversations with best customers:
- Open a Facebook fan page and set up a
part where you can get feedback. Let your best customers know about these
pages through a special, dedicated email. Check the page daily. Let customers
know which ideas have been acted upon and which are still under review. Check
out the Starbucks Idea section for an excellent implementation of this strategy.
Their approach cost more than a fan page on FB, but you will get the idea.
- Call your best customers. That’s right, call them. Have the marketing team
each call a half-dozen best customers every week and ask them about their
last experience and what you could do better. Send an email from that employee
to thank the customer afterwards.
- Ask for feedback after every e-commerce delivery. Send a link to a form for feedback and then offer a small discount for the
None of these are huge ideas, individually, but together they set the
starting point for more engagement in the future.
Questions: What are the challenges of getting feedback from your best customers?
What do you think of the three suggestions offered in the article? What
other ideas do you have to engage with your best customers?