It Is Crucial To Solicit Feedback From Your Customers

Posted on November 1, 1998 by Sara Eastwood-McLean - Also by this author

A couple months ago, LCT decided to call a few hundred of our subscribers to gain a better understanding of how we were doing as an industry publication. The one comment we heard several times is that LCT’s editorial doesn’t offer enough instruction for the small operator.

I thought this was interesting, considering the fact that when I first began here as publisher, the over riding criticism came from large operators who believed our book was “too simplistic.” They wanted us to print “more meat!” Today, I am once again reminded of the same dilemma we faced five years ago. How do we keep our loyal subscribers, who’ve been reading LCT for years, happy and at the same I time avoid talking over the heads of the more neophyte operators?

This summer our editorial team and I got together for an intensive one-week meeting to literally tear our product apart and put it back together again. When it came to developing our new editorial plan for 1999, we took into consideration everyone’s needs—large, medium, and small operators, as well as the new kids on the “limousine block.” During our editorial brainstorming session we asked ourselves these key questions: Why are we doing this? And, how can we do it better?

After this meeting we walked away with a ton of fresh ideas for improvement, a new magazine strategy, a sense of direction, and an awakened sense of energy and enthusiasm. We’re calling our plan for success, “LCB Vision 99.”

For all of you who are brave enough to assess your own company and service (trust me, it’shard to critique yourself!) and plan to call a staff huddle before year end to do so, I’d like to share with you a few of our methodologies and meeting notes. Below are the five critical areas we addressed:

Part I: What is Our Mission?

Our number one objective is to be the best source of business information in the industry. LCT editorial will always present helpful ideas on how chauffeured transportation operators can make money and save money. We will strive to teach operators how to be profitable and successful business professionals.

Part II: Competitive Analysis

We spent several hours poring over all of the competing publications and compared them against our magazine. We did this to find weakness on both sides so we could further improve upon our product.

Part III: Improving LCT’s Content and Design

We reviewed all of our graphics, use of color, and visuals that make a story interesting and user friendly. We tossed out some tired artwork and incorporated many new elements to breathe more life into our pages.

Part IV: New Editorial and Departments for 1999

This is the really exciting part. However, you’re going to have to wait and read about all of our fresh ideas and new articles beginning with our January 1999 issue.

As painful as criticism can be, it is vitally important to solicit feedback from your customers. We found that when we listened to what our clients were telling us, what they’re really saying is, “Hey, I respect you enough to let you know how I feel so you can make appropriate adjustments.”

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