Gathering Customer Perspective

Gathering Customer Perspective

Customers pay you – focus on gathering their feedback and perspective.

By Ian Richardson, Managing Partner, Richardson & Richardson Consulting LLC

Continuing from our previous post in this series on Customer Experience, there are a few methods that have facilitated the ability to gather customer perspective that have served me well throughout both my I.T. company, and Richardson & Richardson Consulting.

Please note that this list is not in any order; all the methods are effective for their intended audience, and all of the methods have a place in your organization should you choose to focus on gathering customer perspective.

Assumption Validation

When I was trying to “nail down” why my customer’s chose to work with my organization I would follow the below process during a phone call or face to face meeting:

  • I would go to them with a list of assumptions I had made and asked them how I was doing on all of them
  • (I like using the NPS scale of 0-10, where anything 6 or below meant I was in a lot of trouble, 7-8 would prompt a discussion around focused improvement, a 9 would get me the “one little thing” to fix, and a 10 meant I could mine them for referrals)
  • I would then ask them if I had “gotten it right” on my assumptions. Is that everything that they valued about me? The question “What did I miss” was useful here.
  • Anything below a 10 prompted a “What’s the main reason for your score?” response question.
  • This process was done 2x a year with each client who would participate.

Net Promoter Score™

(NPS) Survey:

    • I would perform this twice a year.
    • We would ask the specific NPS question of “How likely are you to recommend [companyname] to a friend or colleague?”
    • I would use the 0-10 scale with the common 0-6, 7-8, and 9-10 breakdowns.
    • I like using Email for NPS surveys – non-response is taken as a 0 and would prompt a call from me around the topic.
    • I aim for at least 60% participation from clients after 1 email and a follow up phone call on the topic.

Company Events:

Company events are great for gathering feedback from front-line employees of your clients. I would both host and attend events.

    1. Hosted Events: These are your “customer appreciation events”. Give a small gift to every attendee and have anonymous feedback cards with 2-4 easy to answer questions, plus a small space for additional comments. Make an ask when everyone is sitting down for a meal for feedback on the cards and ask them to stack them in the middle of the table facedown. You get some awesome insight into what’s going wrong with your company from them.
    2. Client Events: I would attend these and strategically walk the room, congratulating the customer on a well-run event. I would ask 2 questions of each person from the company I was able to talk to:
      • “If I was going to focus on one new offering this next year, what would you want me to focus on?”
      • “What two things could I focus on to make it easier to work with us?”
      • Make sure to take notes on who says what here – you want to be able to follow up after the event. A Field notebook is your best friend here.

 Routine Surveys:

Experience surveys are a key part of service-based organization feedback. I’ve used a few different ones.

    1. Routine Interaction Survey / Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT):
      • Every time someone interacts with your service delivery team, you ask them a “How did we do?” – the scale isn’t super important (1-5 stars, Happy/Neutral/Upset smile faces, etc.) Anything below a “top score” gets attention from your relationship manager for that customer. Focus on Root Cause analysis for situations after you “make it right”
      • A great “follow up” is to call back after you address the root cause and mention the situation, solution, and ask has it been better. Shows that you care and want them to be happy.
      • Sending snacks never hurt anyone after a particularly bad interaction, along with the root cause follow up call.
      • People who don’t fill out surveys would get follow ups from me. I would ask them to fill them out if they could. I would also directly ask if they were unhappy with our team since we didn’t have feedback.
      • Figure out what “good response” looks like for you organization and manage to that. If someone WAS responding and stops, that’s indicative of a big problem.
    2. Annual Surveys:
      • A 10 or so question, primarily multiple choice/select an option/ 0-10 scale survey across the primary functions of your business can give you a good bit of insight into how your teams are doing.
      • All feedback, including negative feedback, is a gift. I always sent a thank you card and gift for people who would fill it out.
      • Response is low – 10-20% is pretty good here.
      • Rewarding people for filling it out is a nice step – You could send all people who take the survey a $20 gift card to buy them lunch for the feedback.

If you’re struggling gathering customer perspective or get your team onboard with the need to do so, Richardson & Richardson can help. Check out our case studies for stories of organizations that we’ve assisted with similar issues and download our white papers for deep dives on tools you can use in your organization. If you’re wondering where to start, book a complimentary session with one of the Richardsons today to come up with a plan on how to move forward.

Always Forward,

Ian Richardson




Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc. More information is available at: The Net Promoter Score


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