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Make a Call To Get Back on Track

When people or organizations work together, they don't always see eye-to-eye. If you have a disagreement with family, friends, or a customer or supplier, do not let the grievance fester. As soon as possible, discuss what went wrong. Before you can address the grievance, you have to know what caused the disagreement.

Why Making the Call Matters

If you call to find out what derailed a relationship with a customer or supplier, you may be able to salvage the relationship. In any case, you can learn and prevent others from leaving for the same reason. Further, you can prevent customers from talking about their bad experience. Two caveats:

  • Some people will speak more candidly with a neutral third party.
  • Time is of the essence. The sooner you reach out to the distressed party, the better.

A large manufacturer failed to renew its contract with an Enterprise Resource Planning software company from Detroit. Stunned, the ERP company asked Winett Associates to interview one of the manufacturer's executives. The manufacturer was satisfied with the software company's products and services, but refused to sign a new contract because the software company had bullied the manufacturer during negotiations. The executive spoke candidly with us, but not the ERP company.

Telephone Interviews Complement Online Surveys

Online surveys have many advantages. You can administer a large number of surveys fairly inexpensively, and you can quickly tally the results.

Online surveys are most effective if you ask straightforward questions, such as "Do you use your mobile device to compare prices when making retail purchases?" However, online surveys are less effective than telephone interviews for ferreting out the why behind the why, for instance, "Why do you think mobile devices are less secure than PCs?"

To identify issues that concern customers, some organizations post short online surveys. Then they analyze the results, identify customer concerns, and probe further with a few in-depth interviews.

For instance, an online survey may reveal that some customers are not planning to renew contracts to outsource customer support services. Survey respondents may say that they are not renewing because of pricing. In-depth interviews often uncover the real reasons, such as bringing customer service in-house or migrating to a competitor.

We can help you plan and execute a hybrid survey that takes advantage of the strengths of both types of surveys.

Copyright 6/12 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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