Brand X Solutions, Inc. is a leading worldwide provider of services and technology to
the brand X industry. Long known for cutting edge IT products targeted to the brand X
industry, the company has recognized that world class customer service is a key to their
marketplace success. They have also recognized that in order to create a culture that is
famous for service, on-going customer input on what works and what does not is absolutely
vital. Such a customer-centric culture depends on relevant metrics, practical measures and
timely action plans that are grounded in what Brand X Solutions customers perceive as the
key features of great service.
In order to get an accurate gauge on what is vital to customers in terms of the
features of great service as well as an assessment of Brand Xs performance on these
features; Progressive Insights, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia was retained to craft a customer
service survey and structured interview process. The survey differed from traditional
survey research in that it utilized more conversational queries. The goal was to amplify
the response rate so that future actions could be based on reliable information. Fifteen
questions were asked of all structured interview and survey recipients in addition to five
questions crafted for each of 5 specific product areas. The results of this two-pronged
data collection effort is to determine the most critical improvement opportunities as well
as build a set of benchmarks by which service improvement year after year can be
The customer service survey was preceded by a pilot survey sent to twenty-five Brand X
Solutions customers hand-picked to represent a cross-section of Brand X products. Careful
attention was given to select customers who were as geographically dispersed as the larger
customer population. Effort was also made to select customers who would be completely
candid in their assessment of Brand X Solutions customer service. Twenty surveys
were returned. Additionally, customers were polled regarding their evaluation of the
survey experience. This input was used to refine the paper survey sent to a much larger
In addition to the pilot survey, structured interviews were conducted with 32
customers. Again, careful effort was made to obtain input from customers across all
products. Each interview followed the same questions used in the paper survey. Each
interview lasted approximately thirty minutes allowing the capacity to more deeply probe
issues and concerns. The total response rate for the project was 21.7%. This response rate
is well in excess of the 10-12% benchmark for statistical validity needed in a survey
project of this type. In fact we have been informed by Brand X Solutions Executives that
the number of customers who participated in this effort represents nearly 60% of Brand X
Solutions revenues. Response rates by service area surveyed were as follows:
Product A 16%
Product B 50%*
Product C 20%
Product D 24%
Product E. 25%
*All from structured interviews
What follows are the paper surveys, the paper survey results, a summary of the survey
and structured interview results, a summary of the pilot survey results, a summary of the
structured interview results, a list of those interviewed, and key learnings. Key
learnings are the top line concerns raised by customers which we believe warrant
Next Steps and Recommendations
It will be critical that action plans are developed to address the results obtained
from the survey and interview process. Such action plans will need to have clear
accountability and consequences for non-performance. Customers interviewed have voiced
great hope that improvements will be forthcoming. Inaction will yield a calloused customer
who is not likely to be candid in future attempts to seek their input.
What should the Brand X Solutions Executive Team Do Next:
- Get closure on your service vision and implement a plan for your role in communicating
throughout the organization what it is and its implications.
- Let your employees see your total commitment to service excellence through your daily
actions. People learn what is important from observation, not conversation.
- Fix the bureaucracystart with the low hanging fruit for initial
momentumpublicize your actions. Stop the "blame game."
- Develop clear, relevant metrics/accountabilities that redirect focus on area that your
customers say is important. Implement a reward system to motivate and recognize your
customer service heroes.
- Develop and implement a concise external and internal communications plan to communicate
the results of the Customer Satisfaction Benchmark project to your customers and
throughout your company.
- Start a process that trains/facilitates people throughout the organization to think as a
team serving customers. This includes a host of cross-unit initiatives. There is too much
silo thinking today
and your customers are tired of it.
- Fix the quality issue and implement a process to keep it fixed.
- Establish new standards for honesty and integrity throughout the organization. They will
only work if they have your commitment to model them
and, they have teeth in them.
Your customers sense a drop in integrity and you need to correct this quickly.
We have enjoyed working with your company and very much appreciate the opportunity to
work with Brand X Solutions in developing a Customer Satisfaction Benchmark.