Customer Interviews

Open-Book Coaching’s Customer Interview Program has reinforced our customer focus throughout our company. This program complements our open-book efforts, taking our company to the next level, ensuring that both our employees and our customers are engaged. Their fast, professional and objective services have provided us great customer and competitive information, as well as strengthening our repeat and referral business. We plan to do this on an ongoing basis. 

– Robby Hagemann, President/CEO, Boardman, Inc.

If there’s one thing we all have learned during the past several years, it’s that the financials aren’t the only numbers company owners should be watching. They may help you keep costs in line, but they don’t tell you what’s happening in the marketplace. While you’re concentrating on this quarter’s profits, tastes and technologies may be changing. Your customers may be finding better, cheaper products and services from someone else.

That’s why more and more companies are learning the Net Promoter System® (NPS) developed by Fred Reichheld and Bain & Company. NPS companies make a point of contacting their customers regularly and systematically. They score their customers’ loyalty, and they ask for comments in the customers’ own words about what they like and dislike about doing business with the company. These scores and verbatim comments bring the customer’s voice right inside the company, so that people can take action to improve the customer experience. Veteran NPS companies take the feedback and ratings as seriously as their financial results.

Here at Open-Book Coaching, we’re helping our clients combine these two powerful approaches to running a business. We’re calling it “customer-centric open-book management,” because it focuses as much attention on customer concerns as on financial results.

For us, it all begins with simply calling your customers. Your own employees can do it, or our professional staff can do it for you and report back what we learn.

  • One immediate benefit is an increase in repeat and referral business. Talk to your
    customers regularly and you find that you’re having some interesting conversations. They might have more work for you. They might know of others who could use your services.  One of our engineering clients got 8 referrals from the first 9 calls.
  • A second benefit: you learn what’s bothering customers, as well as what they really value. Maybe they’re concerned about too many late deliveries. Or have trouble reaching your account managers. Or maybe they really value the incremental services you provide. By fixing the problems—and letting the customer know you have done so—you tell them with your actions how important they are to you. You improve their experience as well.
  • Long term, the most important benefit may be that you turn your employees into real  businessmen and businesswomen. They are already watching the financials. Now they’re learning to pay attention to customers, just as every owner must do. They’ll spot threats and opportunities faster than ever.

If we do the calling, here’s what’s typically involved. First, we review our standard customer interview script with you and modify it to fit your company’s circumstances. We agree on the initial customers to be interviewed and get their contact information. As we begin interviewing, we keep you abreast of our progress and follow up with you with on any developments that warrant a discussion. We also agree on the thank-you e-mail response we send on your behalf, including attachments providing details of new services, your referral program, etc.

After reviewing the initial customer interview results, we then agree on any refinements to the survey and on the number of additional customers to be interviewed. When the interviewing is complete, we discuss opportunities we have uncovered, and how best to share the results internally to reinforce your employees’ customer focus. If you agree, we work with your company to internalize future customer interviews.

What Our Customers Are Saying