Lots of people are working on their resolutions this time of year, trying to get back in shape after indulging in delicious treats, eating and drinking more than usual, and giving themselves a break from their wellness routine. The simplest advice is usually the best – eat less, move more. What’s so interesting about this? Sometimes companies’ customer listening skills, or responsiveness, have also become flabby over the holiday season. How can we apply the principle of “eat less, move more” to our customer interactions?
In December, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for planning for “next year”. Often there are a glut of marketing research projects undertaken, the best of these with an eye to engagement, development, service, or improvement. A few are simply a way of using up allocations in order to preserve the budget status quo. Either way, after a few weeks of holiday schedules or time off, the enthusiasm to implement may have waned, or momentum may simply have ratcheted down a notch. Suddenly you’ve taken in more “idea calories” than usual – but you haven’t been taking action.
How can you jump start all of that great learning you invested in last year? Here are a few ideas how to kick off the New Year and use what you’ve learned to improve your customer relationships:
- Compile it – list the most interesting, motivating, and useful things you learned from your customers (or about them) in 2010.
- Connect the dots – for each item, get your team together brainstorm specific steps you can take to make the most of that insight.
- Contact them – provide your customers with some feedback to let them know you heard them, and how you plan to take action.
Last of all, just because you gathered all those wonderful insights last year, doesn’t mean you should stop asking questions. A gap analysis will help you put together a wise, manageable research plan for 2011…one that will let you trim the fat, digest only the best insights, and get your customer relationship in even better shape than last year.
Getting you off and running for 2011,
Megann & Steve