BRE and Beyond…Act on What You Know Makes Customers Happy

Fix what customers don’t like, but also give customers more of what they do like.

Continuous improvement in customer service is not all about root cause analysis and process improvement. Much of it is about doing more of what already satisfies the customer.

In the article Survey: Oshkosh good for business as CEOs cite better economic outlook, the local economic development organization reports results of a survey of local businesses. When economic development organizations have a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) component, it’s because they want to retain those industries and those jobs (and those fees and taxes, etc.) locally. So surveys are conducted on businesses just like retailers conduct surveys with customers.

The Oshkosh article notes changes made as a result of the survey to help businesses become more accessible to customers and to plan for infrastructure changes. But one of the great things about BRE surveys or any surveys for that matter is that the survey organization also learns what the customer (or in the case, the business) likes – they like talking about their facilities or products, oftentimes they like the personal relationship with BRE organizations, they like help with facilitation of difficult permitting processes, they like the access to qualified technical personnel locally. And BRE organizations that are great at what they do, use the information on what makes customers happy to their benefit.

If the industry likes to share information about their facilities and products, find forums to allow them to present about themselves. If they like the relationships with the BRE staff, create Touch Point Plans for ongoing relationship-building. If the business likes help with permitting processes, create an issue-resolution process in partnership with the local code enforcement agency. If they like the access to qualified technical personnel, ensure businesses are establishing relationships with local providers of technical staff, with community colleges, and even some high schools.

Whether it’s for a BRE organization or a private business, research to uncover customer likes is important. Sometimes capitalizing on what already makes them happy is as important as fixing those things that bring frustration.

Act on what makes customers happy.

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