September 14, 2016
Listening to Customer and Employee Outcomes Key to Business Performance

INTRODUCTION

Customer feedback is directly connected to a business’ bottom line. When customers have a positive experience, they are willing to pay up to 41 percent more [EKN Millennial Study].  To provide this exceptional customer experience, companies must start by creating a listening culture that captures and responds to fast feedback.

To understand the full importance of customer and employee feedback, We engaged YouGov to conduct an online omnibus research study to understand business leaders’ perceptions of customer feedback and how it impacts overall business success. The insights were collected from a sample of 503 U.S. Business Executives.

A key insight: over nine in ten (94 percent) of business executives agree that listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line.

Three major benefits of listening include:

Retention: According to the findings, nearly nine in ten (88 percent) business executives believe that retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers – and a key driver of retention is listening. The goal for companies is to establish a listening capability and culture that enables customers and employees to engage and quickly provide feedback in real-time. As companies begin hearing from stakeholders, they should reply, address problems and recognize employees based on the feedback.  This maximizes the power of one-to-one digitally enabled connection.

Diagnostics: Collectively the crowd is the smartest group ever assembled. While customers can identify what is working and what isn’t in a business, employees must also be consulted in diagnostics, as they are on the front lines every day dealing with customers. As employees are usually the first to identify pain points and opportunities, they can also collectively suggest great solutions and strategies.

Stories and Content: The reason that so much feedback currently is negative is that it isn’t easy to provide. Businesses end up hearing from the most motivated customers, many of them unhappy.  With fast feedback, businesses hear from a more representative cross-section of consumer and employees.  The resulting data is not only better, it usually contains a treasure trove of great stories and content often about outstanding employees.  Indeed, most (94%) Business Executives believe that customer feedback can help companies retain good employees.

It’s increasingly about Outcomes versus Outputs:

Business Outcomes: Nearly nine in ten (89 percent) executives believe companies need to focus more on customer outcomes (e.g., retention, satisfaction, etc.) than customer outputs (e.g., products, services, etc.) The most important benefit of establishing a listening culture is to drive these outcomes in a positive way. Understanding the company’s customers, stakeholders and employees through listening will identify the right path to make sound connections and continually improve stakeholder outcomes. The core difference between listening and survey is the focus on the feedback provider’s outcome versus data collection. 

The research outlined below underscores the importance of listening as it is key to business performance and top-of-mind for CEOs. 

KEY INSIGHTS

Business Executives Overwhelmingly Believe Customer Outcomes and Retention Are Key to Business Performance

       Nearly all (97%) Business Executives report that customer satisfaction increasingly drives business performance.

       Overwhelming majority (94%) believe that satisfied customers are increasingly becoming brand ambassadors.   This is accelerated through “word of mobile”.

       Over nine in ten (94%) agree that listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line.

       Nearly nine in ten (89%) believe companies need to increasingly focus on customer outcomes (e.g., retention, satisfaction, etc.) than outputs (e.g., products, services, etc.).

       Over eight in ten (88%) believe retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.

While Business Executives Recognize the Importance of Customer Feedback, Not All Companies Currently Use Customer Feedback Tools to Inform Business Strategies

       While 89% of Business Executives believe that receiving instant feedback from customers helps their company quickly capture opportunities and solve problems, fewer than three in four (73%) report that their company uses tools that leverage customer feedback to develop real-time strategies.

Employee Retention and Recognition Also Top of Mind for Business Executives

       Nearly all (99%) Business Executives report that recognizing employee contributions helps companies retain good employees.

       Overwhelming majority (98%) believe that employees are a company’s most valuable asset.

       Almost nine in ten (87%) agree that companies need to increasingly focus on employee outcomes (e.g., retention, satisfaction, etc.) rather than outputs (e.g., products, services, etc.). 

Customer Feedback Plays an Integral Role in Identifying Exceptional Employees

       Most (94%) Business Executives believe that customer feedback can help companies retain good employees.

       Nine in ten (90%) report that having customer feedback on employees helps identify rising stars.

DETAILED FINDINGS

Q1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

Top 2 Box Agree

[Strongly/Somewhat]

Total U.S. Business Executives

n=

503

Customer satisfaction increasingly drives business performance.

97%

Listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line.

94%

Having customer feedback on employees helps identify rising stars.

90%

 

Q2. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

Top 2 Box Agree

[Strongly/Somewhat]

Total U.S. Business Executives

n=

503

Customer feedback can help companies retain good employees.

94%

Companies need to increasingly focus on customer outcomes (e.g., retention, satisfaction, etc.) rather than outputs (e.g., products, services, etc.).

89%

Retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.

88%

 

Q3. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

Top 2 Box Agree

[Strongly/Somewhat]

Total U.S. Business Executives

n=

503

Recognizing employee contributions helps retain good employees.

99%

Employees are a company's most valuable asset.

98%

Satisfied customers are increasingly becoming brand ambassadors.

94%

 

Q4. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Please select one option on each row.

Top 2 Box Agree

[Strongly/Somewhat]

Total U.S. Business Executives

n=

503

Receiving instant feedback from customers helps my company quickly solve problems.

89%

Companies need to increasingly focus on employee outcomes (e.g., retention, satisfaction, etc.) rather than outputs (e.g., products, services, etc.).

87%

My company uses tools that leverage customers’ feedback to develop real-time strategies.

73%

 

 

METHODOLOGY

An online omnibus survey was fielded between July 12, 2016 and July 14, 2016 to better understand U.S. Business Executives’ perceptions of customer feedback. The survey was conducted online using the online omnibus field services of YouGov among a sample of 503 U.S. Business Executives (C-level*, chairman, head of a division, etc.) from companies with a mix of industries, services, locations, and representative by size of work force

The margin of error is 4.37%. This means that if we were to replicate the study, we would expect to get the same results (within 4.37 percentage points) 95 times out of 100.

*C-Suite is defined as those who are a Partner, Owner, Co-Owner, CEO, Chairman, or head of a company. Not C-Suite is defined as those who are head of a division, business unit, large organization, team, group, or small organization within a company. No significant differences exist between C-suite versus not C-Suite Business Executives.

 

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