Cisco Systems Corp. channel partners already know they must maintain a strict 4.28 customer satisfaction level to attain company margins and rewards.

But with the launch of Cisco’s next generation customer satisfaction program, the channel will get something that may help them solidify future

business.

The company announced it will add a loyalty methodology to its partner customer satisfaction tool, called Partner Access onLine (PAL). This proprietary customer loyalty model focuses on customer retention and business growth by providing customer loyalty segmentation along with associated financial impact statistics.

Currently only gold partners will receive booking data, but Don McNally, Cisco’s director of worldwide channels business operations, believes that within a year the rest of the partners will be included.

”Instead of a hard number, we thought ‘Let’s begin to look at the longer term view of customers and put a financial value around that. Let’s see the cost of customer satisfaction and dis-satisfaction,'”” McNally said.

Two areas of note will be customers’ willingness to recommend and to repurchase, he added.

The new PAL tool will enable Cisco channel partners to access a customized view of loyalty data in four categories: loyal customers, accessible customers, trapped customers and high risk customers. The tool will provide financial data that is tied to the customer loyalty metric to demonstrate the financial impact that losing a customer may have based on historical bookings data.

Partners will also be able to do “”what if”” scenarios to customize their financial results based on current bookings and profit margins. Year-over-year trending data based on customer loyalty segmentation is available to help pinpoint whether actions taken in one year had an effect on growth in subsequent years.

”This is our way of defining what partners and customers fall into. It will allow them to drill down and tell them which customers are at risk,” he said.

The program was released yesterday to the channel. Cisco is embarking on a campaign to let the partners know about loyalty economics. PAL will have a training module for this initiative and Cisco account managers will be available to assist partners, McNally said.

“We also see this in the commercial and SMB space because a lot of smaller guys could not afford this type of cost model analysis,” he added.

Walker Information will be the third-party company handling the data for the program.

McNally also said that the 4.28 minimum for customer satisfaction is expected to remain the same. It will be re-evaluated at the end of the year.

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