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Customer Feedback

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I have been asked to put together a questionnaire to get feedback from our customers as regards how well our sales representatives are performing. Has anyone any experience in this or any questionnaires you have used previously which I could have a look at?
Sue Nunan

5 Responses

  1. Go for the obvious
    Sue

    Can I suggest the following:

    1 – Ask your customers what are the 3 most important things for them in a relationship with a supplier.

    2 – Ask your sales people the same – see how different or similar these are – your sales people *should* be very much aware of the top 3 for the customer!

    3 – Pull both sets of questions together in to a single questionnaire and ask the customer to rate their relevant importance and how well your sales people do in addressing these requirements.

    4 – Analyse – BUT don’t fall in to the trap of averages – ignore averages – all they will do in this sceario is hide the rubbish – look for the extremes as indicators that something, or someone (which often comes back to something, e.g. recruitment or training process) is seriously wrong – find the root cause and eliminate it. Look at the extremely good – find the root cause and replicate it. BUT – involve your staff in the analysis and presentation back to themselves.

    5 – Publish the results, along with an action plan, to each customer, and ask them to hold you to it.

    Now, I’m no expert is sales & marketing, but we do this kind of exercise with our customers, and also strongly suggest to them that if they are not 100% happy, to not pay the invoice in full – in fact they chose how much or little to pay. The only rule is that they must tell us why they are docking some of the pay – we will never chase them for it. This tells us very quickly, where it hurts, that something is wrong. We have never had a customer go ‘rogue’ on us with this, but if they did, we would simply stop doing business with them – dishonest customers we can do without!

    Good luck

    Martin Schmalenbach
    Director
    Potential Energy Ltd
    http://www.p-nrg.com

  2. Ask Your Reps Too
    Hi Sue,

    Martin made some very good points – although personally I’m not sure a UK Corporate would be overly happy with clients deciding how much they pay!

    Two bits of experience, firstly know your customers – the last thing they want is a lengthy / ‘pointless’ questionnaire to fill in – make it worth their while. Perhaps talk to marketing about what promotion / incentives you can offer (this will depend on you industry regulations and your corporate policy).

    It may also be that you have to be more focused, choosing a single area of your business or a particular type of client initially, then learn from this experience, developing further questionnaires as you go.

    Additionally, I would ask the Reps to complete the same questionnaire – this will give you a comparison of the perceived situation versus the real situation. It will also prevent the age-old “we already knew that…” from the Reps. This information can be used in performance appraisals / coaching sessions at any level.

    This sounds a big job but with advances in technology (supposing your customers / Reps have access to the technology) it can actually be efficient, effective and affordable, even with a large volume of numbers.

    If you need any more help then please feel free to contact me.

  3. What’s important to you?
    I agree with both the other correspondants on this to an extent and they both make excellent points.

    But I would suggest that the first step is to decide what is important to you as a business as well as to the client and to your sales reps.

    It’s great that a customer and the sales rep think that they are doing a wonderful job but only if the business relationship has been maximised for the benefit of your business.

    It might be worth carrying out an analysis of the profitability of customers first and trying to determine what makes these customers spend money with you and then targetting the worst and best performing accounts to determine what is going right and wrong for them. This may help you in determining how to proceed in improving performance.

  4. comments on questionnaire design
    Sue

    Most people start a questionnaire with thinking about the questions to ask.

    For a questionnaire with more value, you should start at the end and work forwards, ie:

    what’s the purpose

    then

    what subject areas will gain information on the purpose

    then

    what questions will gain information on the those areas

  5. Make Sure You Can Use the Information
    Hi Sue

    It’s always important to know what you customers think, however if you want the sales representaives to be able to respond to the feedback, then I suggest you need to look at how they can do this, e.g. Will the information connect into their sales approach. I use tools such as these when appropriate so please contact me to see how I can help.

    David Mason

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