Customer opinion: continuous monitoring or occasional feedback?

How frequently customer opinion should be asked? Daily, weekly, monthly or once a year…

The obvious answer is the more information you have, the greater the expected business benefits.

However, the expected business benefits are largely dependent on the quantity and quality of the retrieved information.

In order to retrieve High Quality Information the customer needs to genuinely engage him/herself to the process of answering the questions that address and clarify the concerns at hand.

The sole purpose of collecting HQI is naturally to apply the data to achieve the desired business goals – make necessary adjustments and changes to the existing business practices, take advantage of the emerging opportunities and predict the future development.

Having said that in certain business circumstances OCCASIONAL feedback collection probably would be the preferred choice. And by occasional I am referring to feedback collection frequency of once or twice a year.
(a.) When the customer base remains close to the same throughout the year. In other words the proportion of annually obtained new customers is low in comparison to the existing loyal customers e.g. health clubs.

(b.) When there is going to be or there has been a major change on the current business practices concerning the products and services offered.

(c.) When there is a need to understand something in particular that relates to customer behaviour e.g. the use of social media in order to better target the marketing channels.

In the following situations CONTINUOUS feedback collection would probably be the recommended course of action:
(a.) When the customer base is changing throughout the year. In other words the proportion of annually obtained new customers is high in comparison to the existing loyal customers e.g. hotels, accommodation, lodging and hospitality businesses.

(b.) When the products and services offered are changing frequently e.g. retailers.I believe it is important to recognise that financial success is not necessarily an indicator of high customer satisfaction. There might be other factors in play explaining the financial success such as the current trends and product shortages that may have a positive effect on the demand.

(c.) When the business is sensitive to customer changes or customer preference changes. I am referring to situations in which the customers “vote with their wallet”. In one moment the demand for the products and services may be high and the next moment low.

Checking customer opinion by executing a well planned survey is always a better option than assuming how things currently are, or how things are going to be in the future. The more complex, diverse and volatile the operations are….the greater the need for clarification.

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