I continue to talk with people that are working to hold on to their customer research programs. It seems that (in this economy) if you’re running market or customer research and can’t demonstrate a real, tangible ROI your program is in jeopardy of being cut.
There are 2 parts to demonstrating the return your program brings:
1. Structural: Link overall customer loyalty to growth. Whether you use Net Promoter or some other vehicle, show how much money is tied up in Detractor, Passive, and Promoter customer segments. Show how much growth ($) can be had by implementing treatment strategies that move each segment of customers “up the loyalty ladder” to ultimately drive word-of-mouth. Once you have the benefit side of the equation, you can then prove it out by either looking historically and back-casting the ROI, or by implementing a small, low-risk pilot.
2. One-to-one: When you change the nature of the conversation with individual customers you also create cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Your survey instrument can generate real up-sell and cross-sell just by asking the right questions. This process also comes naturally with more complex buying decisions in B2B environments, where account managers can move from a salesperson to that of active listening and customer advocacy. Either way, growth comes when you serve your individual customers by demonstrating that you are listing to their problems and providing real solutions and not just pushing product.
Regardless of what you are spending on your program, it better show real results. What do you think? I look forward to discussing this in more detail over the coming weeks.