The voice of the customer in emerging markets

In emerging markets, it is important to adapt to the customer’s habits. Shop owners often like to buy on a more regular basis as they lack space and working capital.  The retail aisle is where the real action takes place—it’s where customers make purchasing decisions. McKinsey studies show that in China, for example, as many as 45% of consumers make those decisions inside stores, compared with 24% in the United States. To better understand what happens inside the store, it is important to collect information from the customer. The following are key issues to consider:

checklist

Role of the Voice of Customer Survey – It helps you to establish contact with the customer. It is important to understand what is important to the customer and better understand the challenges that they are facing in the trade. It can provide insight on service issues and performance related issues, including the health of your relationship. Positive feedback also helps you to reward the team. However, feedback from dissatisfied customers is just as valuable as those that are satisfied.

Don’t be rigid and keep it simple – Explain to the customer the reasons for doing the survey. Sometimes some of the most valuable feedback we receive is not on the survey., but rather the one to one conversations that you have with customers. Keep it simple and limit the number of open ended questions.

Process – Map out what is the purpose of the survey. Understand what you would like to learn from the survey. Determine how many customers you would like to interview. Decide how you would like to collect the data. You can also tweak and test your service over time and track the progress. Design a list of questions. Do test runs and practice questions. Have a clear understanding of how long it will take and how many customers you can interview in a day.

Key questions to consider:

  • Are we visiting you on a regular basis?
  • What is the quality of our service?
  • Where are the areas we can improve on?

Collecting information – The mobile phone dominates in emerging markets and it is the way to go if you want to make use of a device. However, for most companies a paper based system is still the best to use. The survey should not be skewed but provide good insight into the average customer service and experience. Involve your senior sales team and management team in the process.

Continuous process – The survey should be a continuous process, updated periodically, and not ad hoc. If the questions remain the same, you can track changes over time and validate if there has been any progress made.

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