Departed Client Analysis: Opening Formal Channels of Feedback to Improve Customer Retention
Do you know the real reasons why your lost customers decided to stop working with your company? Do you understand the unmet needs of your most dissatisfied clients?
When you are part of a senior management team running a large business, it can be easy to become insulated from the day-to-day realities of how your company is handling its customer base. Often, internal customer satisfaction data and lost client information is filtered and distorted as it makes its way up the organizational chain of command, resulting in a less than complete picture of the actual customer experience.
[wcm_restrict]Without a clear process for its collection and distribution, fragmented (and often faulty) departed client feedback makes its way throughout an organization. The source of much of this faulty information is client service personnel, who ultimately are not in an objective position to gather and share unbiased feedback, due to factors such as personal client relationships and potential conflicts of interest. Since customer service personnel are unlikely to get an accurate depiction of why clients have left, they often unknowingly disseminate incomplete or inaccurate information within their organizations. When senior managers make decisions based on inaccurate information derived from lost clients who were not fully candid, this can lead to strategic misalignment.
Although internal communication challenges can be pervasive, there is an effective counterbalancing strategy that can be implemented to provide unvarnished feedback to decision-makers. Conducting a Departed Client Analysis (or Lost Customer Analysis) program entails hiring an independent third party to conduct debrief interviews and solicit constructive feedback from lost customers who have recently fired your firm.
A Departed Client Analysis program can help your organization:
- Gain valuable insight on why your relationships ended and what might have been done to preserve them
- Identify which competitors are being selected to replace your company and why
- Establish what product and service enhancements your former clients sought when choosing a new provider
- Evaluate specific strengths, weaknesses and gaps within your product line, your client service delivery structure and your technology platform
- Obtain candid, timely ‘voice of the client’ feedback
Understanding why a customer chooses to end a relationship with your company is as important, if not more important, than understanding why they became a client in the first place. A Departed Client Analysis program is designed to help you identify the real (and sometimes unexpected) reasons why your clients leave.
By opening up a formal feedback loop with lost customers, your company can display a commitment to improvement and learning from past mistakes. By capturing the root causes of customer discontentment directly from the source, your organization will be able to take corrective action and ultimately improve client retention.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]
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About the Author
Richard Schroder is president of Anova Consulting Group, a leading market research and consulting firm focused on Win Loss Analysis and Client Satisfaction Research. He is a sought-after speaker and a recognized thought leader in Win Loss Analysis. He is the author of a new book, From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call (McGraw-Hill, 2011). To read Richard’s complete biography, click here.
Learn more about the Anova Consulting Group at www.TheAnovaGroup.com.
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