Surveying has been never more crucial than it is today.
Posted Mar 8, 2004
In a tough economy the competition is fierce, and the ability to leverage satisfied customers is more important than ever. At a minimum CRM should help us know our customers better and help us make our relationships with them more profitable.
That's why with heightened attention to cost control, revenue generation, and customer retention, surveying has been never more crucial than it is today. CRM combined with frequent and meaningful surveying will enable a company to better leverage and profit from each and every customer relationship.
What CRM does best is provide all the quantitative data that characterizes a customer: who, what, when, where, and how much. What CRM cannot provide is the insight into the 'why' of the relationship. Why did they choose you? Why are they happy or dissatisfied with your product/service? Any why are these issues important to them?
Illusive qualitative data is every bit as critical as transactional history. Valuable information often exists outside of the corporate database. CRM systems often fall short of capturing what customers really want and how they feel. This information exists only in the hearts and minds of your customers. It is subjective and difficult to measure.
Practically speaking, meeting face-to-face with every client does not scale. Companies need efficient ways to gather and analyze strategic intelligence in shorter timeframes--something as simple as a Web survey can provide missing, critical insight. For years, market research firms and customer relations professionals relied on surveys, either paper questionnaires or telephone interviews, to obtain customer data. Although the information was valuable, the process used to collect it was time consuming, cumbersome, and expensive. Web-based surveys allow enterprises of all sizes to achieve a new efficiency by integrating Web surveying with existing CRM, ERP, and HR systems.
The days of the annual survey are past, or should be. Annualized information is generally too distant from the customer interaction to be relevant or actionable. What was once cost prohibitive or technically complex is now very affordable, with options specifically designed for the nontechnical business manager. In terms of real costs and missed opportunities, frequent surveying is an absolute must. We know we must communicate frequently with our customers or someone else will. Just as we use frequency in our marketing, we need to continuously assess our performance as providers--most easily measured in terms of customer satisfaction.
Web surveying is the most cost-effective means to taking the pulse of your customer relationships. Asking your customers what they think and how they feel shows that you are interested in their opinion and are paying attention to their needs beyond tracking their last transaction. Incorporate surveying into your CRM process; your customers will appreciate it.
About the Author
Meg Murphy is president of Inquisite Inc., a provider of Web survey technology and services. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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