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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Create an ‘Endless Feedback Loop’

Last time, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) President Org, Marka the marketer, Zoot the salesperson and Numo the accountant discussed the importance of “Creating Irresistible Customer Relationships.” This week, Marka and Org discuss how to “Create an Endless Feedback Loop” to improve customer retention rates.  Remember, fire = print.

Marka knew the “Customer Nurture Program” (CNP) she’d created had built business relationships that were sturdier than a Coliseum. But was the CNP enough? How did FEI create an “Endless Feedback Loop” to keep its customers happy?

Marka pondered this question during a visit to Org’s cool marble home on a blistering hot Sunday afternoon.

“I’m concerned we’re not doing enough to keep customers from leaving,” Marka told her boss. The two had decided to stay cool by frolicking in the glacial water of Org’s swimming pool.

“Numo just showed me the numbers for this month,” Org said smugly, resting against the pool wall. “Losing customers is the last thing we should be concerned with. And thanks to your CNP, our customers appreciate us now—we haven’t had a stone or flaming arrow shot through our windows in weeks! So we’re good, right?”

“Hades no!” Marka cried, wearing a shimmering one-piece gold bathing toga that oddly matched her flopping mat of straw colored hair. “We shouldn’t assume our customer service level is top-notch just because we haven’t received a grape-load of complaints. To get inside the customer’s head, we must actively solicit feedback. By the time they come to us with complaints, the relationship could be unsalvageable.”

“So how do we get feedback?” Org asked.

“How ’bout we ask our customers?” Marka asked, playfully slapping the water with a fire-colored plastic pool noodle. “For a minimal out-of-pocket cost, we can create a customer survey. Let’s create a short survey of questions and make sure each customer receives it at least once a year.”

“What sort of questions will we ask?” Org asked.

Counting them off with her fingers, Marka replied:

Why do you continue to do business with us?

What other companies do you consider when making your fire purchases?

If you could change one thing about your FEI experience, what would it be?

Have we ever let you down?

On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your relationship with FEI?

How would you prefer to be contacted for future feedback? O-mail, O-Facebook? O-Twitter? Olympus Postcard?

Have you heard about FEI’s referral program? ___ Yes   ___ No (For every hearth or business you refer, you’ll receive 10 FirePoints as a thank you)
Referral #1  ____________________
Referral #2  ____________________
Referral #3  ____________________

Please update your contact information
Name       ____________________
Hearth      ____________________
Address    ____________________
O-mail         ____________________
O-facebook  ____________________ (1 FirePoint when you “Like” us)
O-twitter      ____________________ (1 FirePoint when you follow us)

Please describe a memorable experience (either good or bad) with FEI. (25 FirePoints if we use your description in FireNews, FireBlog, or our internal employee newsletter)

“What about new customers?” Org asked. “Should the questions be the same?”

“They should be tilted more toward why they started the relationship in the first place,” Marka answered. “Based on the results from these surveys, we’ll consider and implement key changes in the way we do business. An issue that comes up repeatedly in the results is probably a significant concern for many customers.”

“Surveys are good,” Org responded, “but we can only learn so much about customers without face-to-face contact.”

Marka started her backstroke across the pool. “Enter the new FEI ‘Customer Advisory Board.’ ”

Today’s Fire! Point:
Don’t assume your customer service level is top-notch simply because you haven’t received many complaints. The best way to discover the quality of your company’s customer service is to solicit feedback from customers, either through surveys or personal visits.

   *   *   *

FIRE! in Action

Kaiser Permanente Test-Drives Hospital with Patients

The healthcare organization built a prototype of a hospital wing and recruited patients, nurses and doctors to give feedback on its design. Using this input, Kaiser modified the blueprint to ensure the actual hospital would better meet the needs of its patients.

Next week: Marka & Org continue their poolside discussion, this time covering the Customer Advisory Board.

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