For Leapfrog Services, TSG Is All Ears
When clear feedback from customers is the goal, nothing beats a personal conversation. This is especially true in B2B research, which typically involves deeper, more open-ended questioning than most surveys. The Schapiro Group (TSG) specializes in B2B interviews, leveraging its in-house call center to give clients actionable insights into the state of customer satisfaction.
Leapfrog Services (www.ribbit.net) operates in an industry, IT services, where keeping a finger on the customer’s pulse is imperative. “Outsourcing information technology makes many organizations nervous,” says Leapfrog’s CEO Claire (Yum) Arnold. “They think of IT as a core function that needs to be internal – until they actually let go of it. Then they never want to take it back.”
Every year, Leapfrog seeks to gauge the satisfaction level of every customer, from large multi-nationals to small operators, using third party live phone interviews. Says Arnold, “We meet with our customers regularly, of course, but a confidential third party conversation brings out different information. Many customers will just say more to a third party. You get nuance that really illuminates the data.”
In 2010 Leapfrog hired TSG to conduct its annual research. Operating with a short time window during the holiday season, TSG met Leapfrog’s deadline with a high rate of response. “They wanted us to use essentially the same survey instrument as in the past, in order to compare year-to-year results,” says TSG President Beth Schapiro. “We fulfilled this need for continuity while making some adaptations to deliver the best possible clarity.”
Leapfrog has two desired outcomes for the survey: to determine how well customer expectations are being met, and to identify new opportunities for offering service that customers value. One way in which results are used is to manage Leapfrog’s own staffing. “We serve a number of growth companies with peaks and valleys of need,” Arnold says. “I want to hire ahead of the demand curve so clients won’t suffer when we experience a spike in service requirements. The survey helps us ‘feel the peak’ ahead of time so we can be proactive in a cost-sensitive way.”
A lifelong entrepreneur, Arnold is committed to customer satisfaction research as a make or break factor in building a business. She co-founded Leapfrog in 1998, influenced by her own experience as an executive who was dissatisfied with in-house IT performance. She had a vision of creating an external team of sharp IT professionals who would be more available, more responsive and more on top of priorities than a stretched-thin internal IT unit can possibly be.
Emphasizing accessibility, speed, versatility and quality, Leapfrog has grown rapidly. In addition to a diverse base of corporate customers, Leapfrog also serves an array of non-profits. The company offers bundled and stand-alone services ranging from 24/7 user support to disaster recovery.
The annual survey reflects an internal Leapfrog culture called “Frogma” – the opposite of dogma. Listening is an essential characteristic. “You’ll never get better if you don’t know where you’re falling short,” says Arnold. For Leapfrog, TSG’s skill with delving into customer satisfaction and unmet needs helps to reinforce that “Frogma” philosophy and build the company’s base of long-term, highly loyal customers.
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