Customer Engagement – Introduction

There are many ways to get in touch with your customers, to ask them for their views and to find out whether they are likely to buy from you again. Most involve a fair amount of investment from your finance department and from the customer in terms of their time and patience in completing paper questionnaires or going through structured questionnaires over the phone. And your staff never hear more than the ‘potted version’ at the end of it all, with a few figures to show how well they have done their jobs.

OK, so that is a little exaggerated, but how much more exciting and engaging would it be if your staff talked directly to your customers and other stakeholders – and not just those people who already have direct contact, but those who work in finance, on product and service development, business strategy or even your most senior executives?

With minimum effort, appointments with those audiences you most want to talk to are set up, uploaded into work diaries and a combination of placeholders and reminders helps to ensure staff have the time to make the call. By putting them in touch directly, your staff can discuss a series of pre-set questions, a ‘topic of the month’, or the issues that interest them the most in their line of work; or calls could focus on resolving outstanding issues for customers, finding out how to improve your website or the ordering process, returns policies, and so on and so forth… the possibilities are endless and both your staff and your customers (and other stakeholders) can really benefit from these conversations.

Your staff are contacting them directly (generally by phone), so customers feel valued and important. Your staff hear it ‘from the horse’s mouth’ and can gain firsthand insights into what it is like to buy from your company – and how this could become a more positive experience.

And finally, via a feedback database, you can issue reports on the most important and interesting outcomes from these calls. Stakeholder Engagement is only half of what this type of programme delivers. It engages staff at all levels, too. Whether you want to talk only to those who are dissatisfied with their buying experience or to those buying a particularly type of product or those falling into specific socio-economic groups – our Stakeholder Engagement Programme makes it happen for you and your staff.

Thanks so much to you and all of the rest of the team who made BEP a success – it’s been a great programme and has laid the foundations for us to become far more customer-centric. We managed to generate huge amounts of buzz and stories – some of them priceless! In addition to that there were many great insights. It’s for us now to build on these excellent foundations”.

Barbara Langer – Head of European Research at eBay

“This was a great program and I very much appreciated the work and professionalism that you and your team put in to this. We in eBay have a much more personal connection with our customers because of this program”.

Marc Delingat – Senior Director for Product, Services, and Technology at eBay Europe

If you are interested in building better stakeholder relationships and in giving your staff the opportunity to work in a genuinely customer centred way, click here to contact Barbara.  We would be happy to discuss your needs and requirements with you and show you how we have helped other clients deliver a truly amazing customer focussed service.

The process

Creation of a database of participating staff
Core details such as names and e-mail addresses are stored

The SEP website
Can be accessed by all subscribers to the programme within your organisation
Discussion guides, training documents, FAQs
Lists all live appointments
Access to the central diary and appointment details from anywhere at any time
A platform for ‘digests’ and highlights from past calls to feed back findings to staff
The site can be branded and coloured to match you corporate identity
Hosted and managed by web2insight

A central diary is set up
Accessed via the website by staff who enter chosen dates for conducting calls
Managed by web2insight
Placeholders for upcoming calls are sent out by e-mail
Automatic upload with a reminder into staffs’ Outlook diaries
Alerts for all diary changes and new appointments registered each day

Target audience definition and recruitment
Using customer lists, panels or free-find methods to find the people you want your staff to talk to
Screening to match your requirements
Recruitment via phone and/or e-mail into diary space defined by staff and kept free by placeholders
All customers (or stakeholders) receive e-mailed confirmation that they have a call booked with your staff

Confirming appointments
Appointment details are confirmed with staff 24-48 hours before the call is due to take place
Contact details and screening information
Automatic upload into Outlook diaries, carrying date, time and all information, plus a reminder
All appointments are also confirmed with the customer / stakeholder just before details are sent out to staff to minimise ‘no shows’

Making the calls, giving feedback
Reminded by Outlook, with the information for the call directly to hand, staff call ‘their’ stakeholders
After the call, staff fill in a feedback form designed to meet your requirements
This logs the call as complete
All content is stored in a central database
Staff can also comment on the Programme via the feedback form
All forms are monitored by web2insight as they arrive

This can take the form of simple Excel exports, interactive on-line data or fully fledged presentations – it’s up to you… You can change the focus of the conversations, your recruitment criteria and the feedback forms at any time, create feedback loops for staff (with automatic reports sent out to internal audiences, for example) and introduce ‘burning issues’ for improving your service delivery.

The Stakeholder Engagement Programme is a truly flexible and very cost effective tool that can make all the difference in an increasingly competitive world.