Rockwood Management Services
52 Johnson Drive
Chatham, New Jersey 07928-1168 U.S.A.
001-973-635-1970 Phone

info @ rockwood.com









































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A tool to increase sales and improve operations

Use customer satisfaction as a means to unify your entire company team for common goals.


What has happened to customer satisfaction?  We keep hearing that it is much more difficult to get new customers than to keep the ones we have, but after years of downsizing, customer satisfaction seems to be at a new low.  "Getting things done" has replaced "getting things done RIGHT."  Customer service is expected to correct the deficiencies, but the customer service agents that are left are often poorly trained and underpaid.  Customers react the only way they know.   They shop on price and then expect universally poor service. 

Before continuing, we don't want you to get the wrong impression.  We are not advocating a simple solution that adds training and pay to fix things that should have been done correctly in the first place.  Also, we believe that many customers prefer to help themselves, if they can, before asking for help.   

Unfortunately, many companies have been forced to cut expenses that provided superior customer service and support.  Now, as business increases, differentiators that can even offset product deficiencies are no longer available and customer satisfaction suffers.  Is it time to build customer satisfaction back into the fabric of your business? If you believe that it is, please read on.  If you already make some type of customer satisfaction measurements or have concerns, you have a head start.  Leverage this commitment and benefit by making enhancements to whatever has already been accomplished.

Benefits to Expect

Our approach to customer satisfaction is different from many we have seen, especially those that provide mere lip service to the subject.  Besides making happy customers, we believe that customer satisfaction needs to translate into greater sales and profits.  Here are some examples of benefits that should be expected.

  • Your customers will become partners with you in a more successful business relationship.  Most customers are flattered when someone asks their opinion.  They will look forward to sharing ideas and suggestions that help you serve them better, including recommendations for new and improved products.

  • Discussing customer satisfaction provides another reason for making sales calls.  Sales personnel become a key conduit for feedback on the customer experience.  They appreciate having another reason to interact with their customers.  
  • Employee compensation plans can be linked to customer satisfaction.  What better way to foster the right atmosphere for your customers.
  • Operating units will receive useful input for planning business process improvements.  Each unit takes ownership of items under its purview, makes improvements and provides feedback for transmittal back to customers.
  • Executives will receive actionable information about a key factor in business success.  Assuming a leading relationship, executives will receive timely input that allows them to diffuse problems that, if left untreated, would adversely impact their operating results.

What not to do

We have seen companies start with grandiose plans and pronouncements about improving customer satisfaction.  Unfortunately, after building customer expectations, follow through was left to chance and the hype only served to build customer frustration rather than satisfaction.  It is much better to do nothing than to consciously or unconsciously fool the customer.  Instead, why not use customer satisfaction as an advantage that becomes a sales tool.  We recommend following a process that has worked well for us.

Do this . . . . it really works!

Satisfying customers starts with a strong commitment from upper management.  In the short term, even advertising a commitment to customer satisfaction is important.  It can buy time until plans are ready to begin identifying and addressing real issues.  It is also important to remind all employees that their future depends on customer loyalty and retention.   Each individual has an impact that contributes to the overall experience customers have with a company and its employees.

Good customer satisfaction programs grow and evolve iteratively.  Ultimately, these programs should grow to interact with all of the customer touch points.  Use of Customer Relationship Management software should also be considered.  However, begin by crafting a program that will be more affordable, yet will make a difference and improve communications in the process.  For starters, we recommend the following elements.

  1. Assign responsibilities.  Everyone in the organization needs to play a role.  A delegate of the president or chief executive officer should direct, manage, and coordinate the project on a regular basis.
  2. Collect and analyze results.  Start by asking the right questions, ones that will uncover issues with sufficient details to develop actionable improvements.  Use surveys, interviews, focus groups.  Carefully summarize, analyze and interpret the results.  Assure that money won't be used to merely create binders of tabular data that lack specifics and sit unopened on executive bookshelves.  It takes time to do a thorough job.  Don't rush the process and the packaging.  Before delving into the details, executive decision-makers need presentations that employ creative graphics to highlight and address the salient points.  Take care about data security.  It is important to organize information in a way that sensitive details will only be released on a needs-to-know basis and will be suited to the needs and expertise of the audience.  Not too many companies would be happy if a binder of their customer satisfaction data got into the hands of a competitor.  Careful packaging will help.
  3. Socialize survey findings.    Again, involve the whole organization in the process.  Share details on a needs-to-know basis, but also describe highlights of you program in employee and customer newsletters and other marketing collaterals.  Even involve the media, but please remember that anything released in print, especially outside of your company, needs to be more general in nature.  Details can be discussed with customers in personal meetings with sales personnel if they are suitably trained. It can be a great opportunity to collect additional details from customers about their earlier input.  Make sure that a process is in place to communicate any additional feedback back to those responsible for making changes to business processes and products and services.
  4. Develop and track corrective actions.  Operating units need to take ownership of their items and create and implement plans for corrective actions.  Changes need to be carefully integrated with other business improvements, e.g., cost reduction and cost avoidance projects.
  5. Follow up regularly.  Keep the team informed and have sales provide feedback to customers on a regular basis.
  6. Start the loop again.  Once changes have been implemented, it is time to restart the process.  With the new starting point, see how the customer feels both about progress since the last survey.  Ask them how you compare to competitors and how you score in absolute terms.

A well-planned, well-run customer satisfaction program will have a major impact on any business.  It can help eliminate customer issues, but also shows that a company really cares.  It becomes part of what a company is noted for.  When treated well, customers frequently reciprocate by not only buying more, but also helping a company with new ideas for products and services and suggestions for ways to do things more effectively and efficiently.  If you don't have a customer satisfaction program, consider starting one.  We believe you will be glad you did.  Be sure to create an on-going process that includes these five elements . . . . . 




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