Low Volume High Value Feedback (LvHv)

In Brief

Each and every client a company has is important to the organization, but what happens when you don’t have a million customers to ask for feedback? What if that number is in the hundreds instead of the hundreds of thousands? How do you secure enough quality feedback to guide you forward?

At Customerville, these situations arise all the time. In fact, these projects end up as some of our favorites because with the right strategy, you can turn a perceived weakness into priceless customer feedback from your most important customers. We like to call this LvHv or Low Volume, High Value Feedback.

One fantastic example of this can be found in Madrid, Spain in the shop of Augustin Garcia. Augustin is a close friend of our CEO, Max Israel, and the two make a point to meet whenever Max is in town. If you’ve ever met Max, he almost certainly was wearing a suit and that suit was, without a doubt, handmade by Augustin himself.

Garcia’s a very successful tailor and has a client base of several hundred men, but a few hundred make up the majority of his business. This means that every bit of feedback that he can get is crucial, and a 4% response rate isn’t doing him any good.

It’s unrealistic for him to be on the phone every day getting feedback. Outside of his 1-on-1 appointments, he’s a busy guy and those suits aren’t going to make themselves. Sending one of his prime clients a typical freemium webform survey isn’t going to cut it. He needs a way to get crucial feedback in a way that doesn’t make his clients feel trivialized. These clients came to Augustin for a reason and they are predisposed to a certain quality experience.

If this sounds at all familiar that’s because Augustin’s business can easily serve as a microcosm for all different types of enterprises with LvHv feedback needs. Pharmaceuticals, legal services, luxury goods, engineering firms, enterprise sales… the list goes on. All of these people need to gather quality feedback without making their clients feel like just another client.

Historically, organizations with smaller client bases have struggled to get high engagement numbers from their customers. This often happens because they treat their clients like just another customer in line at Starbucks instead of like the exclusive group they are.

At Customerville, we use 5 best practices to capitalize on these unique situations.

1. Change the paradigm: Let customers know that this isn’t just a one-shot survey, but rather an invitation to ongoing listening. Early on, explain that you will – in the future – be asking a select few to help guide the direction of the company at a few moments across the year. Make it a big deal, stroke those egos and make it clear that you’re taking their opinion very seriously.

2. Get in front of the invitation: Do not just email someone an invitation and expect they’re going to take your survey. These respondents already receive tens, if not hundreds, of requests for feedback each week. A significant investment of effort in the initial engagement phase will pay massive dividends in the long run. Sometimes this can even include analog methods. Send a handwritten card or a small care package with a personal touch. Make the client feel special, tell them that they are valued as an expert, and explain what you’re going to do so they have a feeling of expectation.

3. Highly designed, highly personalized: Ask at the right moments in the right way. Many of these important stakeholders have little time in their schedules for unexpected feedback requests. Always ask yourself: If I could be walking right next to this person during their day, is this how and what I would be asking right now? In most LvHv scenarios, you have a lot of great information about your customer and you can leverage that. Do it! Often times, the result will be a customer who acknowledges the extra effort and responds accordingly with detailed and thoughtful feedback.

4. Multi-format, multi-channel… mono voice: You’re going to ask these people for feedback over the course of the year in several different ways. That’s smart. Your customers will respond well to a bit of diversity in your requests, but this must feel like a cohesive, whole experience with the client constantly “in the story.” If your requests do not follow a certain narrative, you’ll look like you’re over-surveying and don’t have your act together.

5. Feature an interlocutor: An interlocutor brings the whole experience together. People respond to people, not to web forms. Your LvHv initiative needs to have a face, and it must be somebody your customer not only can identify with… but wants to. That can be the CEO, someone like a company historian, a long-term employee, etc. But this is the person you’ll position to explain why you’re asking, the personality who appears throughout the course of the year and guides them through this process.

One important side-note. Many people wonder why these five steps aren’t used in every feedback interaction, and they’ve got a point. We encourage the use of these tips to guide customer feedback programs at any level. But when it comes to people who need to gather feedback from a smaller group of very important clients where a high engagement rate is a must, these steps go from best practices to must-haves.

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