Monday, September 22, 2014

Kevin Gilbride

Kevin Gilbride is publisher of the Lawn & Landscape media group.


Stop mind reading

Snow and Ice

September 1, 2014


Kevin Gilbride

What do your customers think of you?

This may sound like an odd question. What does it matter? They are our customers, right? So of course they like us.

But how do you know? Have you asked them?

Many companies think they know what their customers think. Some even have an occasional process they go through to find out. Many companies however assume they know.

I was having a conversation the other day with a snow professional and this topic as it relates to ISO 9001 certification. Measurement and analysis is one off the six key documentation components to this certification.

We were discussing the over value to this, and this particular individual was sharing how pleased they were that it was a “requirement."

Their comment to me was that you often don’t know what your customers think until they are gone. Implementing an ongoing process to measure what your customers think of you is going to improve your business.

I know companies that send out surveys to their customers annually to gather feedback on how they are doing.

Other companies do this after each season (summer and winter). Another one calls a certain percentage of customers each year with a series of questions that they answer. There are many ways to gather feedback, and most companies do this periodically. But the key is what you do with the information.

You often see the information gathered, and results are then reviewed. Too often, that is all that happens.

You need to do something with this information. Better yet, you need to have a goal to achieve with your system.

If you are doing a survey, set a baseline the first time you do it. Perhaps it is 20 questions on a scale of 1-10. When you average the survey the first time out, you score a 9.2. This gives you an idea of how you are performing today.

You may find an area of your business that you scored less than you would have liked. This gives you an opportunity to improve. It also gives you an opportunity to communicate with your customers on improvements you are making in the business. After all, if they are telling you that you are falling down in a certain area, could they be the ones that are about to become former customers?

In the end, many businesses gather data, but the key is what you do with that information.