Customer feedback is a treasure trove of information that every organisation needs to meticulously acquire. This helps the organisation know to what extent its products or services are able to meet the customer needs. Also, it becomes easy to gauge any changes in customer preferences and formulate new strategies accordingly.
“Field wisdom is the most readily available information that gives you insights and revelations into your own business and how processes, products and services are delivered. We believe in working on every such insight to fine-tune our processes and service levels,” says Mr. Saurav Patnaik, co-founder and VP, marketing, Kenscio Digital Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
Elaborating on the process they follow, he says, “We have a streamlined communication process for our clients, wherein we follow on-boarding process, campaign management process, strategy and consulting meet-ups, critical communication management process and other custom requirements which may come from our clients.”
At HCL Technologies, Mr. Kalyan Kumar, AVP and worldwide head, cross functional services, HCL ISD, explains, “We seek regular feedback and market insights from customers in an extremely structured manner in the form of customer advisory council (CAC).
CAC is a global, collaborative forum where 80 of HCL’s Fortune 500 C-level customers and thought leaders convene on a regular basis to advise HCL on industry trends, changing business priorities, and its strategic direction. HCL then translates the advice into actionable plans to transform business requirements and technology needs, creating more value for HCL’s customers.”
Speaking on how frequently organisational teams should interact with customers, Mr Prabir Jha, senior vice president (HR) Tata Motors, says, “While there may be specific projects that one could set up at times to explore a specific worry or to reconfirm a hypothesis, the best approach is to always be clued in to your customer needs.
Not only can one improve one’s existing product or service then, it could be a useful input to the creation of a new offering or even create a new market segment later.” He adds, “For specific projects, the time could vary significantly depending on the nature of the project and the reach or impact of the engagement. It could also be something that could leverage external and expert help.
Internally, employees already in touch with the customer segment could be one obvious group to be tasked with it.
At times, it may be a conscious call to task a set of employees who are not interacting with this customer group on a daily basis because that could be a more neutral and ‘open’ group to sense customer feedback and opportunities.”
Organisations follow different methods to garner customer feedback. “We do audits, email surveys with random clients, meet them personally, monitor their performance, arrange workshops and training sessions to keep them informed about the industry’s best practices and standards and our ever changing business strategy,” says, Mr. Saurav Patnaik.
Mr K Vaitheeswaran, founder and CEO Indiaplaza.com, says, “We send out employees to meet customers in shops, malls or talk to them one on one. We also conduct quarterly unaided surveys.” In this regard, Mr Prabir Jha advises, “There is need to listen to what your customers are saying in surveys and focus groups, but even more important is what they are not saying!! Learn to read between the lines and pick the gaps as silence is a great insight.”
Mr. Xavier Prabhu, founder and CEO, PRHUB, contends, “Field wisdom is not something that needs to be left to frontline executives though there needs to be a process to have them feed it into the system.
The top also needs to have a bird’s eye view or exposure. At PRHUB, some part of the role of all our senior executives is market-facing, so that field wisdom happens by design rather than default. It also highlights the importance we attach to the value of it.”
A company’s competitive edge indisputably, lies in its agility to adapt to the needs of its customers.
Thus, the customer being the focal point of every business, customer feedback assumes the greatest importance. As Mr. K Vaitheeswaran aptly puts it, “This is the real wisdom and beats any amount of meetings and discussions and theories at work.”