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Customer Care Cube (C³)™ Approach

 There is substantial anecdotal evidence to indicate that the cost of doing business with existing customers is significantly less that finding and doing business with new customers. Studies show that the profitability of business with existing customers is substantially higher that for new customers.

It makes good business sense to manage and cultivate existing customers.  Do you know what customer service components are important to your customers?  Do you know how your customers rate your performance?  Do you know how your customers rate you in comparison to your competitors/other suppliers?  If you know, is it because you have made broad assumptions or have you taken the time to actually ask the customer? 

This Excel-based Customer Care Cube (C3)TM  template, which you can download, allows you to graphically represent the results of a customer care/satisfaction review survey as a three-dimensional cube and quickly identify areas of risk or exposure from poor customer service or areas of potential significant competitive advantage.

Most companies recognise that customers and employees are their most valuable assets.  The retention and development of these assets should be high on the priority list for every company. Employee Performance Review and Appraisal systems are a recognition of the need and desire to retain and improve the performance of employees.  Yet, when it comes to that other most valuable of assets — customers  — most companies priority is to acquire new customers, rather than to retain and develop existing customers.  This, in spite of the fact that existing customers are more profitable and that it typically costs 5 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. 

The Customer Care Cube (C3)TM A Customer Satisfaction and Retention methodology is a practical customer focused methodology that identifies the key service components of most importance to individual customers and, by raising the performance standards for these service elements, significantly improves customer retention. It is based on having key customers evaluate the performance of the organisation on an annual basis and mirrors the Employee Performance and Appraisal system in operation in most organisations.

The use of surveys to monitor and review customer service performance is a widely deployed methodology.

Customer satisfaction surveys typically ask a sample of customers how satisfied they are with particular components of the offering, such as product quality, price, after sales service, etc. The customers’ satisfaction under each component is rated (1 Extremely dissatisfied, 2 Dissatisfied, 3 Neutral, 4 Satisfied, 5 Completely Satisfied). This provides useful feedback and allows the organisation to identify and address problems that will give rise to customer dissatisfaction and ultimately the loss of customers.

At its most basic level, this type of customer survey is one dimensional, in that it only rates customer satisfaction against a number of pre-selected customer service components without reference to their relative importance. A more sophisticated approach adds a second dimension by recognising that all service components are not of equal importance to customers and that the satisfaction rating should be weighted by the importance of the customer service component being rated. Thus, the second dimension rates these customer service components in terms of their importance to the customer (1 Not important, 2 Minor importance, 3 Important, 4 Very important, 5 Essential).

This allows the customer service effort to focus on those components that are rated as important by the customer. 

However, this two-dimensional analysis does not fully address the competitive reality that exists in virtually all customer situations. What appears to be a satisfactory rating can be perceived by one customer as being as good as or better that other suppliers, while another customer giving the same rating can perceive the performance as poorer than that available from other suppliers. The results of such a two-dimensional survey can give rise to a false sense of security or inappropriate prioritisation of corrective actions.

The Customer Care Cube (C³)™ methodology augments the two-dimensional approach by providing the third dimension of the Cube. This dimension asks the customer to rate the organisation versus the competitors or other suppliers for each component: ( 1 Significantly worse, 2 Somewhat worse, 3 About the same, 4 Somewhat better, 5 Significantly better). This pecking order is of vital importance in terms of understanding what the customer really thinks and which vendors are most likely to have a long-term strategic relationship.

Ideally, the comparison should be with direct competitors. However, where direct competitors do not exist, a comparison with other suppliers positions the company within the supplier pyramid. Those at the bottom of the pyramid are most likely to be replaced, while those at the top of the pyramid are most likely to be long-term strategic business partners.

This additional dimension validates the other data by allowing it to be put in a competitive perspective. Thus one can identify, for instance, a customer who only scores a 3 in terms of satisfaction but rates the service as being significantly better than the competition as being different from another customer who also rates the service satisfaction as a 3 but rates the performance as being somewhat worse than the competition. This provides a level of insight that would not be possible by using only two dimensions, i.e. taking the ratings of 3 at face value.

The graphic representation of the Cube allows one to quickly identify areas of exposure or risk and potential areas of competitive advantage. If one is consistently rated highly on a particular service component that is viewed as being very important by a segment of customers, and they also rate the service as being significantly better that the competition, this has the potential to be exploited as an important/significant competitive advantage.  A Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and a  Customer Satisfaction Critical Index (CSCI) are calculated.  Strategies can be developed to correct areas of weakness or to exploit areas of competitive advantage.  A perfect 53, i.e. completely satisfied with your service for a feature that the customer considers essential and rates you as significantly better than the competition is the ultimate goal.  However, practical and achievable targets can be set for each customer and each service component to be achieved by the next performance review.

The Customer Care Cube (C³)™ uses the Excel Bubble chart format to display the three-dimensional Cube data. Two charts are produced. The customer profile chart maps the data for one customer for each of the service components (quality, price, etc.). The Competitive Factor chart maps the data for one service component  for each of the customers.

The Customer Care Cube (C³)™ uses the Excel Bubble chart format to display the three-dimensional Cube data.  Charts are produced and CSI and CSCI indices are calculated.  The customer profile chart maps the data for a customer for each of the 10 service components.  The Competitive Factor chart maps the data for one service component (quality, price, etc.) for each of the customers.  The CSI and CSCI indices are also graphed for each customer.  A comprehensive white paper is available at http://www.marketware.biz/white_papers.htm 

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Check out the Customer Care Cube (C³)™ User Guide before you purchase!

Item Number: MW002

Price: US$9.95

 

 

 

 

 

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