One of the key ingredients in winning proposal recompetes is making sure your customers are satisfied with the work you’re doing. A customer satisfaction program provides those insights.
Customer satisfaction research often reveals new insights to your customers’ goals and needs that can help you better position your company for recompetes. It also will identify areas where your firm is falling short of customer needs. In fact, we have never conducted one of these studies that didn’t reveal something senior management had not known.
From your customer’s point of view, taking the time to implement a customer satisfaction program sends a powerful signal of your commitment to their wellbeing. At the same time, you are raising their expectations that any issues they may have identified will be addressed. Many of our customers wonder how to use the research results to address those issues. We recommend five steps to take once you have the research results in hand:
- Study and understand the results. A good market research firm will not leave its client with a bunch of meaningless numbers but will help interpret the study findings and the implications the results have for the client. Ask questions. Make sure you completely understand what the data is telling you.
- Establish priorities. Choose the top issues to address immediately. We recommend starting with no more than four so that you can focus your full attention on them. Once they are resolved, add more. Our customers find that even addressing the top issue leads to happier customers.
- Develop process improvement plans. This will spearhead progress. Once you have selected the areas that most need improvement, assign people to own the process. This ensures forward movement.
- Execute process improvement plans.
- Measure and monitor improvement efforts. Establish quarterly meetings with the management team to report on and review progress.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you have internal champions within your firm to maintain and promote a process of continuous quality improvement. Taking to heart this culture of improvement can yield impressive benefits in satisfaction and customer loyalty.
A final note: An investment in customer satisfaction research goes above and beyond the dollars that pay for the research. Your management team must be on board with the study because it will become an integral part of process improvements. If management has no intention of acting on any results the research reveals, the program will be a waste of your resources. Need to convince senior managers? Here is one story of the value of a customer satisfaction program.
Learn more about Market Connections’ customer satisfaction research.