Every quarter, I call each client to get feedback on where we’re doing well, and where we need to improve. (If you recall, this past June we publicly posted our Client Satisfaction scores for the world to see.) As a CEO, the feedback is always fabulous, even if we’re discussing a problem. I still want to hear it from my clients in an unfiltered way.
We measure this every quarter, across every client, and try to include client representatives from every perspective: executive stakeholders, project managers, software users, etc. This isn’t a Web survey, either. I call each client every quarter to ask for the good, the bad, and occasionally, the ugly. It’s all dutifully recorded, compiled, and presented for everyone in the company to see at our quarterly meetings.
We recently compiled the Client Satisfaction Scores for Q2 2009 for our three categories:
- Satisfaction overall for Q2 2009
- How strongly our clients would recommend Geonetric
- How well aligned we are with our clients’ strategic goals
Client satisfaction overall for Q2 2009
Client satisfaction is one of the most important overall measurements we have: how happy clients are with our products and services. We measure client satisfaction on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being “exceptional” and 1 being “poor.” Our goal is to average 5 or higher — meaning we have to get lots of 6’s to balance out anyone who’s not singing our praises! So we aim high, I suppose, but that’s because it’s really important. This quarter, we’re a bit below what we’ve been shooting for on this front – a 4.6 composite score.
The key highlight quotes for Q2 2009:
- Support level: “Support has been fantastic; great exchanges; getting resolution. Quick, quick, quick. Your people are right on the money.”
- Responsiveness: “Good response time. Great support.”
- Vision: “You read the industry very well.”
One client also pointed out that they didn’t feel some processes were fast enough:
- Responsiveness: “It seems like we take the long road around to find solutions instead of attacking it directly.”
Since responsiveness was listed as both a positive and a negative by different clients, we took that one apart a bit and uncovered some places where delivery can be inconsistent because of our process. We’re presently ‘leaning’ that process – streamlining it and removing non-value-added steps in order to improve responsiveness across the board.
One client pointed out that the gathering of technical requirements for a particular project didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked:
- Technical requirements: “You need to get better at defining requirements.”
Yep. We knew that one and we’ve already improved a couple of steps in the requirements gathering process to make this go more smoothly – and we are now poised to get specific buy-in from our client constituents earlier.
Overall, though, the scores were very good and the comments in particular were 4:1 positive to negative. It is fair to point out that we prompt each client for ways to improve and to tell us about areas where we’re not doing well. Even if we get a 6, we still ask for areas we need to improve. We’re always changing, so keeping in close contact to make sure we’re changing in the right direction and responding to our clients is critical to our success.
How strongly would you recommend working with Geonetric?
To measure this question, we also use a 1-6 scale, with 5 as the target. This measure seems to trend pretty close to the overall satisfaction score, as would be expected, and was a 4.7.
It’s important for us to know if our current clients would recommend us to others in the industry for a couple of reasons. First, it’s another way of measuring satisfaction. If you’d recommend us, things are probably going well at a high level, even if there are small issues. Plus, we recognize that the healthcare industry is a tight-knit group, and a good recommendation from your peers carries a lot of weight.
How well do our efforts match your strategic goals?
This score improved, meeting the target at precisely 5.0 out of 6. I’m especially pleased about this score because it acknowledges our increased efforts to focus on a strategic consulting approach, and because I firmly believe an improvement here will, over time, drive up the other scores.
We’ve made a concerted effort over the past few months to align our efforts with those of our clients and to help our clients think about ways to use the Web more strategically. Our client services team works with each client to learn their organizational goals and find ways their online initiatives can support those goals.
In these strategy discussions, we’ve also uncovered additional ways we could help clients and prospects that has lead to us to partnering with Raven New Media and Marketing. The President and CEO of Raven New Media, Elizabeth Scott, is a 17-year veteran or marketing who brings invaluable insight and experience to our already impressive team. The name might sound familiar to you. While the AVP at Norton Healthcare, Elizabeth partnered with us to deliver one of the industry’s best-respected quality reports online. Check our recent media release to learn more about this partnership. We’re thrilled with this opportunity to continue our great relationship with her.
Based on the work our client services team is doing, and our partnership with New Raven Media, I’d say we’re moving in the right direction here. And even thought we’re already posting a 5 in this section, we’re positioned to go higher.
The importance of being transparent
Overall, these scores show a company that is purposefully striving for a set of very difficult goals, making some advancement, and also finding some areas to improve. The important thing is our mindset – we’ll never hit our goal, see that 5, and be done with it. We are constantly pushing ourselves to improve processes and find new ways to add value to our clients’ online initiatives.
We didn’t choose to put arbitrary numbers out on the Web for all to see. No, we chose the most critical numbers: how our clients feel about our work together. By posting this information publicly – which I must note that no other competitor I’m aware of does – we’re aiming to make sure that our clients, prospects, employees and industry partners all know where we’re at and what we’re aiming for.