Close the Loop with Customers

Have you ever filled out a survey and wondered what happened to your thoughts and opinions once you hit the send button or dropped the survey into the wooden box? More than likely the company did one of two things. 1) they didn’t even read your survey and it ended in the spam folder or the garbage next to the wrapper from lunch or 2) the survey was read and the company made changes based on your feedback and those of other customers, but the changes are unknown to most customers because the results of the survey weren’t publicized.

If there was one thing I learned at last year’s Net Promoter certification class, it was that finding out what your customers think is very important, but it’s absolutely critical that action is then taken. Closing the loop with customers makes all the difference. By closing the loop, I mean getting in touch with customers after they have filled out a survey and thank them for giving you a 10 or asking them what could have been different during their experience. Sounds simple, but few do it.

A few weeks ago I went crazy and decided to join the world of BlackBerry. It has been years since I had one and those were happy years – the ones without the little red flashing light following me where ever I went. When I checked my email later that night I had a short survey from Verizon asking me how my experience was. I don’t remember how many questions the survey was but I do remember it was very short and at the end I had to score my experience on a scale of 0-10. I submitted the online survey and that was it.

Less than a week after I got my BlackBerry, I had a voicemail from Lee. Lee is the manager at my local Verizon store. His voicemail thanked me for working with Paul, the sales associate, and said that he hoped that I was enjoying my pink BlackBerry Curve. He thanked me for filling out the survey and giving my experience a 10. If I had any questions or concerns, I should feel free to call him and then he left his phone number.

Lee did two things that actually shocked me. He called. Yes, it sounds crazy, but after filling out numerous surveys in my 30+ years of life, it’s a very rare occasion to actually have the company follow up. The second thing that was shocking was that I was a person I wasn’t just a customer or some revenue for his strip mall store. He knew the name of my sales rep – whom I know for a fact I didn’t write in my survey – which phone I had and what I had ranked my experience. He was able to personalize his call to me. Rather than just saying “Thanks for filling out the survey” he made the call about me and my experience. I know that when I give my opinion, Verizon will listen.

When you ask for a customer’s opinion, close the loop. Let them know you listened. We all want our opinions to be heard and to know that we’ve been heard.

Must go, the red light is flashing.


2 Responses

  1. Hi Maeve – Have you tried applying a closed loop to customer reference management? Similar to the point of your post, we often recommend that I clients “close the loop” with customer refernces by reaching out after the activity to find out whether it was considered a success. There has been a lot written about metrics and measurements in the customer reference field, but this one isn’t frequently discussed. When this topic arises the question we get most often is whether to follow up with prospect who needed the reference, the sales person who made the request, the customer who provided the testimonial. Anyway, I thought it was related enough to bring up here. I’d welcome your thoughts.

  2. Hi Josh-
    I don’t always follow-up. I should, but I don’t. When I give a reference for a prospect I’ll ask the sales person how it went. But, I definitely follow-up directly with the customer when I have given them to the media.


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