Mastery of information management has become an essential ingredient in the creation of corporate value. Market research firms and their customers have fully understood the strategic implications ; they are increasingly exploiting survey results, and this will eventually transform business organization and operations.
For example; “In 2010, only 8% of firms regularly using customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement programs actually analyze the data with sophisticated statistical tools…and practically none of them convert the data into action plans, hence the need for follow-up initiatives,” states Michel Saulnier, researcher and president of the Quebec chapter of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA). In fact these business managers risk missing out on strategic pointers with all the consequences that this might have for their markets.
Yves Masson, Senior Partner of the research firm Saine Marketing considers that “consumers today are much more critical in their shopping choices, consequently satisfaction indicators no longer enable firms to have a clear vision of the loyalty and engagement of their customers.”
Aware of this phenomenon, market research firms are looking to develop new approaches to managing survey results. The aim is to initiate implementation of continuous improvement processes at all operational levels of the firm, and to convert the results of satisfaction surveys into action plans. “Today, organizations are exposed to multichannel communications offering multiple points of contact with their customers; such as retail outlets, call centers, online purchasing sites, social media etc. They must develop a 360 degree vision of the client and incorporate the findings of these studies into their management systems,” believes Yves Masson.
Inclusion of an explicit process within the organization structure to effectively exploit the results of satisfaction surveys should be fundamental; not something left to chance or improvisation. “Awareness of the need for a certain management policy often only arises in a crisis, at a time when management realizes that it does not have the tools to deal with the situation,” Michel Saulnier points out. In this area, the National Bank is a pioneer. In 2007, the new president of the bank, Louis Vachon, introduced a new vision “One client, one bank” that was to transform the customer relationship approach to banking. “Customer expectations are constantly evolving and we must be able to adapt to their needs in real time,”says Dominik Giasson, Senior Director of Research at the National Bank. Four years ago, the National Bank implemented a measure of customer loyalty which is currently evolving. This includes an improved governance process and ensures that customer satisfaction is a priority throughout the entire organization.
To uphold promises made to customers, is governance the ultimate corporate tool?
Large organizations such as Hydro-Quebec are moving in the same direction, and are creating new management models which in the near future will be adopted by most companies. This is a trend which will be interesting to follow closely.