5 Questions Brands Need to Answer to Be Customer First

While most large companies are still in the early stages of developing a fully integrated marketing organization, we’ve found that the following questions are the most important ones to answer:

  1. Are you thinking about customer journeys rather than just touchpoints?
    The starting point for delivering value, not just talking about it, is understanding the end-to-end journeys your customers take to accomplish a task, such as buy

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Big Data Collection and Use Questions

Real opportunity exists to create differentiation and set new “community standards in honoring the spirit of personal privacy and property rights while enhancing and protecting the value of a brand and enterprise. Some policy questions to be considered:


  • Do customers understand how our company uses the data gathered from their interactions and transactions?
  • If customers knew the full extent of its use, would they agree to it?
  • Does

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Big Data Public Policy Questions

The potentially all-knowing capabilities of companies and organizations that collect data raise questions.

  • What are an individual´s privacy rights given the particular and dynamic dimensions of the digital world: the amount of data, the real time processing of and actions taken based on the data?
  • Should there be limits as to how data can be collected or used?
  • Who owns the data?
  • Who should benefit from the value it

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Respect Questions

To determine how well an organization exhibits respect, leaders can ask the following types of questions:

  • Recognition respect: Do we know who our customers are? Does our market research treat customers simply as numbers or does it reveal their values, wants, and needs? Do we understand the cultural context?
  • Evaluation respect: Which customers can we best serve? Are these our current market segments? How can we treat

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10 Questions to Ask About Customer Service Failures

  1. How are you going to handle the problem for the customer? Think about an immediate solution, delivered with the right attitude and a sense of urgency that will restore the customer´s confidence in you.Photo: Gene Selkov/Flickr (Creative Commons)
  2. Why did it happen? Do an analysis to determine why this happened.
  3. Has it happened before? If it has happened before, why did it happen again? Do an analysis

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What Do You Know About Your Customers

  • How many customers do you have? How many are repeat customers? How many have only bought once?
  • How many customers have you lost in the past year?
  • How many customers have you retained in the last year?
  • Do you calculate the Life Time Value (LTV) for each of your customers? Do

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Adopting an Appropriate Mind-Set About Customer Complaints


  • What is our mind-set about complaints?
  • What do we want to accomplish with our service recovery approach?
  • What experiences do we want our customers to have when they give us feedback?
  • What guidelines should we follow when handling complaints?


  • What are our goals and

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What You Really Should Know About Your Customers

  • How often do you interact with each customer?
  • How often does the customer interact with you?
  • How frequently does the customer purchase from you — tracked by channel and across channels?
  • When was the last time they purchased or interacted with you?
  • What is the value of the average order they’ve placed with you?
  • How is that order size changing over time? How many

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Questions About Satisfying Your Customers

“Add Value”

  • What do your customers value?
  • What criteria do your customers use to determine value?
  • What do you do that your customers value most? Least?
  • Where is customer perceived value migrating?


  • Describe each of your customer segments?
  • What benefits are each of your customer segments looking for?
  • What customer segments are growing the fastest? The slowest?
  • Why do

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The Loyalty Acid Test

There are two ways to take this test. As an employee, you can use it to gauge the strength of your loyalty to your current employer. Customers can also complete the survey; the results provider a sense of how loyal they feel toward a particular company.

  1. My company really cares about building a relationship with me.
  2. My company values people and relationships ahead of today’s profit.
  3. My

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Miscellaneous Customer Questions

  • How do we learn from customers what they need? 
  • How do customers see us now? 
  • Do you treat different customers differently?
  • Do you create a learning relationship with your customers?
  • Do you keep your customers?
  • Do you organize around customers?
  • How much time do you spend with customers?
  • Is that more or less time than the answer for last year?
  • Is your company able to get a 360-degree

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Gallup’s A8 Customer Engagement Questions

Take a moment and imagine that you are one of your company’s customers. Fill in your company’s name in the blank and read each statement.

  1. [ _________ ] is a name I can always trust.
  2. [ _________ ] always delivers on what it promises.
  3. [ _________ ] always treats me fairly.
  4. If a problem arises, I can always count on [ _________ ] to reach a fair and

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Customer Survey Questions

Ask the customer to respond to the following questions with a rating from one (lowest) to 10 (highest):

  • Are your calls to us answered promptly?
  • Are our customer reps helpful and knowledgeable?
  • Are your orders filled correctly?
  • Are you informed about new products or product changes?
  • Are we easy to do business with?
  • Are items you order received in good condition?
  • Are items you

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Customer Satisfaction Measurement Framework


  • Do you know who your customers are and how many customers you have?
  • Do you listen effectively to all your customers?
  • Do you regularly make up an inventory of all the needs and expectations of your customers?
  • Are complaints replied to within two days and solved within one week?
  • Do you make recommendations to customers about the products or devices that best suit

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Customer Service Performance Progress and Opportunities

  • Have we reduced our Total cycle time by at least 50 percent over the past three years?
  • Do 99 percent or more of our orders reach customers on time?
  • Are we shipping zero defect products to our customers?
  • Have we reduced our product development cycle time by at least 50 percent over the past three years?
  • Have we surveyed our customers in the last two years to establish

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Customer Service Nightmares

  • What are your company’s customer service nightmares?
  • What customer service move might your competitors make that would be your worst nightmare?
  • Are the answers to the two questions above similar? If not, investigate the nature of the differences and address them.

Out-of-the-Box Customer Service
by Jonathan Byrnes
HBS Working Knowledge, July 7, 2003

Customer Orientation Behavior Questions

  • Have you identified your customers using market research, market segmentation and customer surveys?
  • Do you differentiate offers, products and services for different customer groups?
  • Have you identified strategic objectives and critical success factors for service and sales to each of these segments?
  • Do you regularly collect information on the wishes and needs of individual customers and use this information as the basis of marketing

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