DETERMINING CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS
It's not easy to collect, analyze, and act on customer satisfaction information on an ongoing basis. However, since the market and business change so fast, you could be out of business before you realize that customer satisfaction has göne in the ditch.
Sources of customer information by Xerox:
- Telephone surveys, using a sample of customers who contacted Xerox during the previous month.
- Monthly customer surveys, to gauge level of satisfaction.
- Competitive benchmark surveys of the marketplace.
- Regular focus groups in which Xerox is not identified as the sponsor.
- Ongoing customer panels with which the company shares ideas and from which it gathers input.
- Roundtables with salespeople, to determine problems and solutions
- Market research focused on potential product opportunities.
- Collaborative development with customers, in which Xerox installs prototypes at a few customer locations to see how the prototypes meet their needs.
- Competitive product analysis.
- Discussions with industry experts.
- Conjoint analysis, with customers, of specific product and service features.
- Collaboration with cosuppliers (such as computer hardware and soft-ware developers).
Staples uses its database of customer information to build evaluation techniques that help it identify sites for new superstores. One of the great advantages of pulîing everything into a database is that it offers the ability to manipulate the information, to use it as IBM Rochester, Xerox, and Staples do: grouping their customers into majör markets, then extracting the precise customer requirements for each. However, the database is not a prerequisite for collecting, organizing, and using information to understand your customers. You may choose to have these functions performed by teams in the senior staff, marketing depart-ment, or customer service department.
Method of Sampling:
- Purchase patterns are reported monthly from response rates to cata-log and merchandise offerings.
- Customer service measures are systematically reported. Problem or-ders and presidential complaints are tracked daily and reported weekly through the company's cali center data collection. in addition, mystery shops are conducted and reported monthly.
- Comprehensive customer behavior analysis is performed and shared with top management quarterly. The analysis includes database patterns such as new customer additions, retention, and sales per average account. it also covers merchandise sales patterns, customer feed-back, and operational performance.
Know your customers. Know your business. Know yourseîf. The degree of knowledge in ali three of these areas will shape your success.