It’s aimed squarely at Generation NOW playing on people’s vanity by asking that they be rated by their peers. The law of averages will almost always suggest that most people will probably score middle of the road, some will get an ego boost and some will be a little disappointed.
Although this site has not been designed to be taken too seriously, what it does do is remind us, that like it or not, we all perform a type of rating service with all our interactions. We will use a rating system when deciding what type of car to purchase, if the new next door neighbor has the sort of “friend” type of attributes, etc. We are more than likely to have a different rating system subconsciously developed for different scenarios and interactions.
Consequently, we have (or should have) a rating system for our customers. We might make decisions on the viability and profitability of a customer on what we can ascertain during an initial contact, or on assumptions that we may make based on some preconceived ideas about what we initially see. Typically, our rating system will alter over time as we gather additional information about our customers.
A haphazard rating methodology is wrong. There are a couple of things that we need to do before we even speak to a customer. Probably the most important thing to do is to look at the rating system should be; a set of attributes that you think define your customer – what you want your average customer value to be, the sort of referrals you would expect to generate from these customers, the value of their feedback, if a re-work/refund scenario was to eventuate what levels would you feel comfortable with, etc, etc.
Once a rating system has been developed then two crucial processing steps need to be actively implemented.
The rating system needs to be conveyed to all business staff, from frontline and customer service staff through to the backroom warehouse and administration staff. Everyone needs to know who they are dealing with and where they rate in importance to the business. This means that a system to ensure customer ratings are accurately disseminated to employees needs to be implemented. Personally, I’d include this as a colour coded field on your CRM.
The rating system needs to be constantly reviewed. This needs to happen at least two levels: (i) Additional gathered information about a customer needs to be considered as part of their rating. (ii) Operating conditions and environment need to be considered and applied to the rating criteria.
Obviously, from a customer or account management point of view, higher rated customers are generally more valuable to a business. Business owners and managers need to be proactive in developing systems and processes to encourage customers to move up the rating scale. Obviously a contextual system needs to be proactively considered; Two repeat customers are both highly rated. Their rating might consist of dollar value of their transactions, or may compose of levels (or not) or re-work. Both are valid criterion and both contribute to, in this case, both customers enjoying the same rating value.
Should your customers know their rating on your system?
We all have a personal financial rating and all financial institutions contribute to your rating and extensively use this to determine your credit worthiness. A similar system is employed by macro financial rating systems and it is used to assign a rating to governments.
If there is a question about releasing this information or not, err on the safe side and DO NOT release this information to anyone outside your organisation. You are legally obliged to maintain customer confidentiality especially when there is a link between your customer and an interpretable financial position. Remember, if you extend a trading account to some (or all) of your customers, you start operating in a finance related legal space.
Finance and Legal information here are of a general nature only and is the authors opinion only. Do not rely on its accuracy and its relevance to the rules, regulations, and laws as they may apply to your geographical area or your commercial field.