Case Histories: Client & Customer Audits
“Customer audits & feedback surveys: the roadmap to improving customer satisfaction and repeat business”
A rapidly growing and expanding global research firm wanted to obtain customer feedback and gauge the level of customer satisfaction of current key clients. This would encompass the total experiences with the firm --- from the initial sales call, to defining the scope of the research, to addressing the client’s objectives, and finally to the presentation of the final deliverable. The key objectives were: to evaluate the overall quality of the firm’s relationship with the client; to identify ways to improve the levels of service; to determine the slope of the relationship over time --- whether it was improving or declining; to identify specific areas and issues upon which to focus remedial action; and finally, to enhance the consistency of client service over time and build repeat revenues.
Topsail Group was asked to help to design these customer audit and feedback surveys, conduct a beta-test with a few clients to make sure they were properly implemented. After initial learning these surveys were conducted on a larger scale in the United States and abroad. Topsail then compiled the information and presented findings and recommendations to the senior management team. These customer feedback surveys were more of a qualitative rather than quantitative document and this was by design. For some of the questions, clients were asked to rate key statements of the firm’s performance on a five point scale, whereas at other times, there were open-ended and direct questions. Based on geography, costs, and timing, some of the surveys were conducted in the client office with Topsail Group and the client during one-on-one interviews while others were done over the telephone.
Based on these surveys, the firm was able to obtain strategic and valuable, insightful information and feedback in order to help improve customer satisfaction, repeat business, and loyalty. Most of the feedback was very positive, with generally good marks for enthusiasm, responsiveness to client needs, and the overall desire to really help clients with their objectives. Some feedback was not totally positive. Most importantly, these surveys articulated very important and specific recommendations for improvement; for example, the need to continually clarify, agree, and communicate project objectives, scope, and status throughout the entire engagement, including the final presentation. Acting upon Topsail’s findings and recommendations, the senior management team assigned a cross-section of employees into teams to solve these issues and make changes in the entire client engagement process.