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Why We are Not Working with You

T&K Roofing out of Des Moines, Iowa has been in business for over 50 years. But what caught my eye about T&K was not its longevity (though admirable) or its adherence to the family values from which it arose. What grabbed my attention was a description of the company’s non-customer surveys. That’s right, I said “non-customer.”

By this time, many business owners have heard of something called the “Net Promoter Score.” Developed by Fred Reichheld, this method makes use of the most powerful question you can ask a customer:

“Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Reichheld classifies the results based on a 10-point response scale as follows:

  • Promoters (9-10)
  • Passives (7-8)
  • Detractors (0-6)

Over the years, the Net Promoter Score has become one of the most powerful and consistent marketing and customer satisfaction measurement tools.

But what T&K does is different. T&K seeks feedback from customers it missed out on.

While many companies believe that bids are won or lost solely on price, T&K found that this just wasn’t the case. There are, in fact, many reasons why a bid could be lost, from follow through to sales rep experience, lack of knowledge, even website design.

T&K’s President, Tom Tjelmeland, designed a 22-question survey inquiring into everything from warranty, schedule and billing terms to presentation and respect for the competition. His survey is accompanied by a letter asking for honesty and requesting that the recipients help T&K get better than it obviously was (on that bid, at least).

The point is that T&K began asking for feedback not simply from its customers, but from those who amounted to lost opportunities.

Perhaps T&K will leave you wondering, as it did me, what questions could I be asking to customers and non-customers alike?

After all, you never know what may come from asking two simple questions:

  1. How did we lose the opportunity to work with you?
  2. Even though you work with us on X, why did you choose to go with our competitor for Y?

Who knows? One of the answers may lead you to your next big client.

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Eliot Wagonheim shares business insights that help companies stay on course. Get our latest blog posts sent right to your inbox. Subscribe using the sign up form here.