The Marketing Strategist:
Client First at Unisys: Closing the Loop to Strengthen Relationships and Loyalty
Closing the loop with customer feedback is a critical element of building loyalty. Companies spend a lot of time listening to the “voice of the customer” but those that reap the rewards go beyond simply listening. They take action on customer feedback.
How a company responds to feedback says a lot about the value it places on customer relationships and loyalty.
Conducting customer surveys creates expectations that you will take some form of action based on the results, whether it be a follow-up call to address issues or simply a thank you note while sharing results. Asking for feedback and not following up can create more harm than not asking for feedback in the first place.
Closing the Loop at Unisys
One company that has perfected the art of closing the loop is Unisys.
Unisys’ mantra of “client first, then the account executive, then everyone who thinks they need the results” is the driving force behind the company’s Client Satisfaction and Loyalty Program (CSAT). Since 2009, Unisys has designed, developed, and evolved a customer-centric program that has improved overall client satisfaction, deepened relationships, and driven profitable business growth.
Unisys leaders highlight six key success factors with the CSAT program.
- Fostering a customer-centric culture: In 2008 the company lost one of its largest customers and no one saw it coming. Unisys’ then-Chairman and CEO declared this unacceptable and immediately directed his business unit presidents to do whatever it took to get closer to customers and develop a culture of service delivery excellence. Customer experience is now central to Unisys’ business strategy.
- Creating a process to ensure follow-up: Unisys has implemented a closed loop process that ensures timely response and accountability. Client satisfaction information and enhancement plans are integrated into Salesforce.com and the system alerts account teams (and their managers) when action is needed. In some cases, Unisys also has clients sign off on remediation actions, keeping clients in the loop on what is being done to address their concerns.
- Addressing systemic issues as well as account-level issues: Too often, companies that measure customer loyalty and satisfaction respond to feedback only at a tactical level. At Unisys, the feedback is addressed at both the account-level and the strategic, company-wide level. For example, when client feedback pointed to a need for more proactive innovation, Unisys implemented a companywide Innovation Program. An element of the program is Innovation Workshops that engage clients in brainstorming sessions with subject matter experts on relevant topics. Unisys also provides clients with opportunities to provide input to solution roadmaps and has recognized clients with awards for their innovation with Unisys solutions.
- Communicating with all stakeholders: The senior leadership team sends letters to clients to share the findings of the survey and to confirm their focus. Additionally, business unit presidents send personal recognition emails to hundreds of Unisys associates that are named by clients for contributing to their success.
- Driving additional business with client satisfaction information: Unisys continually develops and evolves supporting systems to ensure that client satisfaction information is easily accessible and utilized regularly to help deepen relationships and grow accounts. For example, the program includes individual dashboard reports for each account to show a rolling view of client satisfaction over time. Account executives use these reports with clients to discuss progress over time and in proposals to win additional business.
- Creating client advocates: The company leverages client satisfaction feedback to create a pipeline of potential references by identifying clients that indicate willingness to refer Unisys to others. The program has confirmed more than 300 client references.
For Unisys, the commitment to closing the loop has generated significant business benefits. Unisys’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) is higher than average for B2B companies and is on its way toward best-in-class. This greatly strengthens the ability of sales executives to highlight Unisys’ commitment to service delivery excellence with clear customer evidence.
Ultimately, of course, the goal is deeper customer engagement. Unisys’ investment and commitment to listening and closing the loop has generated tangible results including improved relationships and business growth.