In October of 2010 Electronic Contracting Company (ECC), a $20+ million a year company , hired Thrive to do some customer experience research work. ECC was interested in how they could more effectively serve and engage their customers. Thrive implemented a 12 question customer survey and took data from both existing customers and potential customers from all over the country. The intention was to get diversified data from a well balanced customer pool.
The questions on the survey where as follows:
- How many different A/V vendors do you typically work with?
- How important is it to be able to communicate with your vendors via social media (twitter, facebook, ext.)
- How important is it that you communicate with your vendors via e-mail?
- How Important is it that you communicate with your vendors via text message?
- Which of the following best describes your business or industry?
- If it’s not an emergency, what would you consider an excellent response time to communications such as e-mail or text message?
- Which of the following factors contribute to you choosing to work with an A/V vendor?
- How important is it that your vendor “speaks your language” or presents an image that matches your own.
- How important is it that installation and service technicians are professional and presentable?
- As a customer, what would you communicate to A/V vendors that might help them serve you better?
- Any other thoughts you have on A/V vendors service and support from a customer perspective?
- Which carries more weight in you decision on a vendor, price or presentation?
Some of the following data and learning was presented to ECC at their annual sales meetings.
- Customer loyalty is more exclusively based on customer effort than customer satisfaction. 53% of customers work with two or more vendors. 95% of customers rate communication as a reason why they choose a vendor. 100% rated e-mail as very important, 50% rated text message as important or very important, and 53% rated social media as at least somewhat important. Furthermore, 45% of customers would say an excellent response time is within a few hours. The fact is, customer loyalty is based on customer effort and a massive part of this is communication. Customers will choose you and continue to use you based on your communication skills.
- Customer touch points may not be what companies envision them to be. With this contractor, most customers spent twice the time with installation technicians as they did with anyone else in the company. Technicians are a significant touch point. 91% of customers said that the appearance of technicians was important or very important to them. Companies need to be honest about their true customer touch points and manage them closely.
- Customers can tell when you don’t know their business and their world. 87% of customers would say that it is important or very important that a company present a similar image to their own. The image and branding of a company is key, as is the look and feel of all touch points. 50% of customers would say that price and presentation are of equal importance in their buying decision, while 20% would say that presentation is slightly more important than price.
Thrive enjoyed having the opportunity to research customers and markets for ECC. Some changes suggested by Thrive where quite easy to make, such as implementing a uniform requirement for all installation technicians. Some where more long term, such as re-branding the company.