FE Needs to Listen to Its Customers If It Is To Remain Financially Viable. And that often means provoking a conversation rather than being passive.
If you’ve learnt anything about complaints its that they are a great way to get an insight into what is troubling your prospects and students. But what sort of listening strategy is waiting for a complaint?
Why not strategically seek customer’s views and opinions on what you are getting right and wrong?
An Example of Proactive Customer Surveys from the Financial Sector
I don’t often say much in a positive vein about the financial sector but I have to say Im very impressed by the Yorkshire Savings Bank when it comes to their strategy for listening to customers.
YSB send out regular emailed requests for customers to answer short, relevant surveys. They reward comments with prizes and seem to listen to both critical and positive comment. By doing so they gain their customers’ respect and gain the power to respond to what the market wants.
In FE we tend to seek comment, when faced with an Ofsted Inspection, via Employer View, Parent View and Learner View. But I rarely see a strategic attempt to seek views at other times of the year. Few providers send out email requests or have a strategy to get more Google Stars or similar. The best I usually see is the complaints and compliments section on the website. And that is usually well hidden so people can’t complain too easily .. or am I being cynical here?
How much more effective would it be if we sought the thoughts and advice of our customers? Would addressing their issues result in more bums of seats, more recommendations and more financially viable providers? I believe it would.
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