Introducing our Customer Council
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that our ethos is very important to me (Chris). There are sooooooo many web agencies out there and it’s so hard to stand out in an industry of cookie cutter businesses. Some manage to stand out with quirky design, speciality platforms or niche industries. We chose to stand out by taking a very different approach to business itself. We were the first social enterprise web agency with all our profits going back to the community. We’ve changed a lot over the years, due to growth, a changing market and to the lessons we learned, but our ethos has stayed the same.
We’ve always encouraged feedback from our support customers and as a team discuss feedback in a weekly meeting. However, over time the collection method diluted to just a section in the footer of our ticket closed emails and we received less feedback.
In general I think most of our customers are pretty happy. I mean we have an insanely low “turnover rate” of customers. I hate that term by the way – it feels so corporate. I can personally name every customer that’s ever left us and many customers have come on this journey with me for 11 years now. I would admit that I couldn’t name every one of our 2,000+ active support customers, but I can typically tell you the company name if a team member tells me the contact there. This distancing is of course part of our growth and not entirely avoidable, but something I want to minimise, so I’m focusing on it in coming months.
What is a Customer Council?
The Customer Council is my solution to obtain more detailed and frequent customer feedback from customers of all shapes/sizes. In return for a £5/hour discount on all our services, the customer agrees to answer a very short monthly survey. I’m planning on these being a quick “temperature check” and then 4 questions on specific issues. The council are able to add more feedback on these if desired, but it’s not mandatory.
Why we need a Customer Council?
We typically only lose 1 – 4 support customers a year. Most due to businesses closing and some that leave for other reasons, often come back at a later date. However, in the last 6 months we’ve lost 7 customers – completely unheard of. Granted it’s not as bad as it first sounds as 2 stopped trading due to the Covid left-overs and some of the reasons for leaving have been out of our hands, but it’s still enough of a change that I’m taking pro-active action.
What will come from the customer council?
We believe in full transparency, so will be reporting back monthly with the feedback from the council and what changes we’re making to address the feedback. We won’t be able to please everyone, but the council should represent a broad mix of our customers, so changes should benefit the majority.
Who is on the council?
I only sent the invite out a week ago but we already have 23 council members. I won’t “dox” them, but they represent a good mix of shapes, sizes and industries, including:
- Pre-revenue start ups all the way to a large international
- White label client (another agency)
- Multi-vendor stores
- Ecommerce stores
- “Super Simple Site” customer (our pay monthly site option)
- An enterprise level custom system customer
- B2C and B2B customers
- High street stores
- Directory sites
- Very new customers (just joined) and veteran customers (up to 9 years)
Joining the Customer Council