Satisfied customers

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Satisfied customers
Satisfied customers
Hertz, another Mindshare client, asks for feedback at every touch point. “One key is getting both posi­tive and negative comments,” says Brian Dickerson, staff VP of cus­tomer care at Hertz. “It's important to understand what the customer thinks you're doing right [as well as] wrong, so you can concentrate on what makes the customer happy.”

Neither Sizzler nor Hertz use their surveys to gather any extra infor­mation. “We don't want to take advantage of that courtesy on the customer's part to give us informa­tion,” explains Dickerson. However, Hertz is able to use its customer database on the back end to identify whether the responding customer is at a certain loyalty level.

Surveys offer competitive edge

Mindshare and other providers of customer surveys give companies a competitive edge in a variety of ways. Survey results provide instantly actionable feedback from individual customers, and manag­ers even have the option to call a customer for a personal apology. Customers who have had a prob­lem solved for them are even more loyal than customers with no prob­lems, Hanks points out.

In addition, the coupons that some companies, like Sizzler, employ to encourage customer responses bring repeat business at a minimal cost.

Hanks says that another bonus is a potential solution to turnover in the service profession. “If I play a positive message about a particular server in front of the whole staff, that server will become more loyal, and others [will] work harder to get some of that praise,” he says.

Companies such as iCongo and SurveyMonkey also allow clients to create customer surveys measur­able in real time. Both Mindshare and iCongo assess the same general indicators — friendliness of staff, cleanliness, product satisfaction — to create a picture of an individual store's performance.

“Customers today are more demanding,” says Steven Kramer, EVP and CTO of iCongo. “They're expecting a much higher level of cus­tomer service. Gauging satisfaction is all the more important.”

This fiscal year, Sizzler says 78.5% of customers are highly satisfied, with more than 39,000 customers reporting. Sales at Sizzler locations posting 79% highly satisfied or better are flat or up.

“As consumers expect more, we realize that just having a satisfied con­sumer isn't good enough,” says Col­lins. “Satisfied guests don't become brand ambassadors, but highly satis­fied guests do.

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