Ask, Listen, Retain: How One Company Turned Customer Satisfaction into Sales

ASK LISTEN RETAIN (ALR) is a software company that helps companies realize the power of engaged, loyal, happy customers. Through customer satisfaction surveys and high level market research, ALR brings customer feedback to the forefront, helping companies to improve their service and, in turn, increase profits.

As a company, ALR prides themselves on excellence. They excel at identifying customer feedback needs and implementing a live 24/7 feedback system. This feedback system includes a sleek, professional front end (which their customers’ customers see) and a powerful backend (for their customers).

Surveys are the best way to solicit and analyze customer feedback, but in the beginning, ALR struggled to find a system that was flexible, professional, and powerful enough for them and their customers.


How ASK LISTEN RETAIN Uses SurveyGizmo to Empower Customer Feedback

At first, ALR did much of their survey programming by themselves, but were never fully satisfied with their results. In the meantime, they researched dozens of survey software companies.

They found what they were looking for in SurveyGizmo.

They loved:

  • The ability to white label (and completely re-brand the surveys to match ALR)
  • The flexibility of having unlimited surveys and responses per month
  • An industry-leading customer support team
  • Having access to our vast library of question types

Today, the ALR team is passionate about their survey software. They spend less time setting up and implementing surveys, and more time focusing on their expertise: providing exceptional data and actionable insights for their customers.

Don’t take our word for it. See how ALR and SurveyGizmo were able to make a difference for one national auto parts chain.

How ALR and SurveyGizmo Made the Difference With Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Before ALR was brought on board, the VP of Stores for this chain had a problem. He knew about the Pareto Principle–that 80% of his sales came from just 20% of his customers. But he had no idea how to act on that principle to improve sales across the board.

He imagined:

“What if we were in regular contact with all 1500 top customers… and having the head office actually be informed about what that top 20% feel and think about our service!?”

This VP created a new, nation-wide “Priority Plus” program to cater directly to these important customers. This new program incorporated additional promises above and beyond what was normally given to customers, including:

  • Weekly sales manager visits
  • Quarterly store manager visits
  • Credits issued within 24 hours
  • Delivery of parts within 24 hours

Top customers proudly displayed these written commitments of service on the walls behind their counters. It seemed like the VP’s big idea was starting to make a difference…

But not so fast.

It turned out that these promises were not being delivered on.

In particular, busy store managers were not able to visit even one top client a week.

Even with well-meaning programs, sales and district managers still struggled to meet the expectations of the head office and their retention goals.

The Unseen Cost of Customer Attrition and How to Prevent It

That year, the company gained 479 new customers, but lost 430. While the organization was doing a great job bringing in new contracts, they were not nurturing existing relationships.

70% of companies report that it is cheaper to retain a customer than to add a new one (OurSocialTimes). This is the case for B2C and B2C companies alike.

This VP knew what his company was missing out on. While they were enjoying a net customer gain every year, poor relationship management meant their company was losing too many customers to the competition.

By investing in existing relationships, he knew they would be able to:

  • Increase sales
  • Improve gross profit
  • Strengthen customer loyalty
  • Reduce threats from the competition

How to Increase Customer Happiness

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Ask, Listen, Retain: A Three Step Approach to Customer Satisfaction

This is where ALR stepped in.

Their system helps turn survey data into actionable insights, giving the VP a direct window into the needs and desires of his top customers. With this information, the VP could design programs that were truly effective in increasing customer loyalty and retention.

ALR’s three-step process goes a little like this:

Step 1: Ask

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a finger on your business’s pulse? Customers are the lifeblood of your product or service.

To find out what they are thinking and saying about you, you have to ask the right questions.

What do they like or dislike about your service? What areas of improvement do they see?

ALR uses fully customized surveys with questions tailored to the business’s unique needs. These surveys are distributed through email campaigns, on mobile, online, over the telephone, or a combination thereof.

Step 2: Listen

Once you have the results of your customer satisfaction survey, what do you do with them?

You listen, of course!

The collected data holds a wealth of information about your customers and what can be done to make them happier. This information will help you to understand what is involved in strengthening relationships, boosting sales, and increasing customer loyalty.

Armed with this data, you will be able to define and set goals to steer your decision making process toward success.

ALR crunches the data for their clients, providing high level, data-driven insights through analysis.

It’s a kind of alchemy: ALR takes raw customer feedback and transforms it into actionable next steps, a gold standard to guide a business to improve their service.

Because all of the feedback in the world doesn’t mean anything unless you listen to it.

Step 3: Retain

You’ve asked. You’ve listened. Your job is done, right?

For ALR, the work is just beginning.

Their automated system is designed to trigger automatic alerts for: low survey scores, answers to specific questions, negative comments, or customer requests for contact. These alerts notify the appropriate manager for followed up. This gives employees the opportunity to reach out to customers and address issues in a timely fashion.

As issues are resolved, the outcome is logged so that all levels of management can learn from the interaction. Customers are happy because their pain points are addressed. Managers are happy because they are informed and empowered to put systems in place to resolve future issues.

ALR’s system paves the way for nurturing existing relationships, building loyalty and strengthening the lines of communication between customers and managers.

Customer Service Excellence With ALR and SurveyGizmo

Whenever a company decides to embark on a large-scale customer satisfaction survey project, it’s important to identify key goals. This way, the organization can define their scope, what they are looking for, what they hope to accomplish, and what they are willing to change.

The goals of this project were:

  • Increase sales and gross profit through customer and store manager loyalty
  • Facilitate management awareness of what the customer thinks of the service
  • Identify key opportunities for improvement
  • Develop a culture of change
  • Monitor new program effectiveness and increase success rate
  • Use surveys as a means of reiterating commitments to key customers
  • Improve feedback and communication between customers and management

The tenants determined which questions ALR asked, as well as how those questions were distributed to respondents.

While the first bullet, increasing sales, was at the forefront of the VP’s mind, he knew that his gross profit hinged on strengthening the lines of communication between the chain and their top customers (the lattermost bullet).

Because of this, quarterly telephone surveys were used as touchpoints, ensuring customers knew they are being heard.

Achieve Measurable Results With Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Can customer satisfaction really move the needle for your business?

This national auto parts chain has been a customer of ALR since its inception in 2010, and during that time they enrolled their top 1500 customers into the program.

With ALR at the helm, the results have been tangible:

  • 6% sales increase from those top customers enrolled in the ALR program compared to those who are not enrolled
  • Management that’s accurately informed about the on-the-ground reality
  • Established accountability and transparency at all management levels
  • Fostered a cross-country culture of customer experience
  • Enabled the measuring of new program success

Using their three-point system (and SurveyGizmo), ASK LISTEN RETAIN continues to drive results for their clients. But you don’t have to be a national chain or in the auto industry to start moving your sales needle.

Measuring your existing customers’ satisfaction is the first step in improving your business and your bottom line. SurveyGizmo’s online survey software can help.

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