The passive customer is the one who gives you a 7 or 8 on the ten-point scale. When you get formal feedback from your customers, one of the biggest frustrations you may have is when the customer gives you a score “in the middle.”  How should you follow up with these passive customers?  You need to know why you didn’t get a 9 or 10 to make improvements.  Additionally, it is especially annoying too when they give the reason for the score as your price (too high). The rest of the experience was great for your customer, but the price was simply too high.

Here’s how one of our clients followed up with a Passive customer

Passive CustomerThe customer had rented a generator from our client. On the follow-up survey, the customer gave an 8 when asked about his likelihood to recommend. When asked about why, he said the reason was the price (too high). The local manager saw the survey response and decided to call the customer and learn more.

This customer was hard-to-reach, but the manager finally reached him. And, the customer confirmed that the reason he gave the eight was the price. He went on to say that the service provided was exceptional.

The manager pursued things more with the customer and asked if he was doing business with his competitors. The manager suspected the answer was yes, and the customer confirmed it. The alert manager asked if he would be open to a sole-sourcing arrangement in return for preferential pricing. The customer said, yes. While no deal has been agreed to yet, one is in the works. The customer, who previously was not very engaged with the provider, could become much more engaged.

What are the takeaways for dealing with Passive customers?

Think about survey feedback in a new way.

Yes, the score matters, but the customer comments provide an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your passive customers. While the discussion was initially about the transaction, it evolved in a new direction. The discussion came to be about creating a different relationship between the supplier and vendor. Such feedback provides you with opportunities to have different conversations, just like this manager.

Remember, other things matter, in addition to priceRemember, other things matter, in addition to the price.

The customer told the manager as much when talking about the quality of the rental service. His company’s service was fine. This knowledge allowed the manager to focus on the customer’s sole objection and, hopefully, to develop a win-win solution for both. He is on the way to doing just that.

Continuously about eliminating discomfort for your customers.

Though the customer did not come right out and say it, there was difficulty in dealing with multiple vendors. By providing a one-stop-shop at a reasonable price, the manager solved some customer pain.

If you have a survey process in place, how do you view it? Is it a process to collect scores or to better engage your customers? Have you looked for opportunities to have a different kind of discussion with your customers? A well-designed feedback process should help you have such conversations. If not, you may want to give me a call!

For more reading about how to deal with customers in the middle, check out an earlier blog, Customer Loyalty: Let’s Talk about 8.

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